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COB Fees Increase

Students at The College of The Bahamas (COB) will have to pay more to attend the college beginning this fall, when fee increases already approved by the College Council take effect.

This is the solution COB came up with to counter proposed subvention cuts by the government beginning in July.

The government previously rejected COB’s plan to increase tuition at the institution.

The government recently asked the college to submit a plan for a reduction in its subvention by 10 percent for the 2013/2014 fiscal year and 25 percent for the 2014/15 fiscal year.

COB yesterday confirmed that beginning this fall, student parking fees for those who park on campus will increase from $20 per school year to $50 per semester in the fall and spring for full-time students; parking will cost $25 for part-time students.

Parking fees will be reduced by 50 percent during the summer semester, COB said in a statement. The current technology fee will increase from $100 to $120 for all students during the fall and spring
semesters; the technology fee will be reduced by 50 percent during the summer semester.

Students who currently pay no library fee, will have to pay a reinstated library fee of $50 per semester in the fall and spring; the library fee will be reduced by 50 percent during the summer semester.

A new $100 capital facility development fee will take effect in January of next year. The full fee will be levied in the fall and spring, it will be reduced by 50 percent in the summer semester.

The facility development fee has been specifically earmarked for capital development and long term maintenance of the facility, said COB.
Those fee increases were approved by the council on April 10, the college said.

The college said the new fee structure would mitigate the impact to its operating budget as the college transitions to university status.

“As a college family, we as senior administrators, faculty, staff and students are all being called upon to make sacrifices to get through this difficult period,” said the statement.

COB said all budget officers will be required to exercise more stringent fiscal discipline, adding that budgets for travel, subsistence, food, utilities and overtime would be reduced.

The college also said members of its senior administration have agreed to contribute to the college’s annual fund to assist with student scholarships, capital projects and the college’s greatest needs.

COB Council Chairman Alfred Sears, who was contacted for comment, said last night he was not present during the last council meeting and had not been briefed.

He told The Nassau Guardian that Boze and her executive members have been in consultation with stakeholders to identify new streams of revenue and to maximize existing streams of revenue.

He said several of the fees existed but had not been enforced. Several prominent union officials have called for the removal of Boze and her senior administrative team.

In a letter addressed to Sears, dated February 28, College of The Bahamas Union of Students (COBUS) President Ernesto Williams, Union of Tertiary Educators of The Bahamas (UTEB) representative Jennifer Isaacs-Dotson, Public Managers Union (PMU) President Winston Moss and Bahamas Public Service Union (BPSU) President John Pinder said they lacked confidence in Boze and her senior team to do what is “expedient, necessary and fiscally responsible” to lead the college to university status.

“Our college is in crisis,” the letter said. “This crisis stems from a seemingly autocratic and visionless leadership team which appears to have misrepresented facts, failed to be accountable and transparent mismanaged resources…and disregarded key members of the college community in the decision-making process.”

The group has also sent a letter to Boze, requesting the college’s budgets and accounts for the last three years; the proposed budget for 2013/2014; projected revenue for the next three years and key development priorities as it relates to executive appointments.

A COB official said in a briefing note, “The college determined that a combination of cost-savings and new revenue measures is required to defray the $2.5 million subvention shortfall in 2014 along with the $6.25 million subvention shortfall in 2015 and 2016 respectively.”

The college anticipates cost savings of $1 million in 2014 and $1.2 million in 2015 and 2016 can be achieved through increased efficiencies, said the note.

The college also anticipated budget shortfalls of around $1.5 million in 2014 and $5 million in 2015 and 2016 respectively, the briefing note said.

By Royston Jones, Jr.
Guardian Staff Reporter

Posted in Education

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