Thursday, July 10, 2008

COB Grants Resident Tuition to Non-Citizens

As the recent documentary Can you see us? makes painfully clear, Bahamian-born Haitians face a great deal of social and legal discrimination here in the Bahamas. Since Bahamian-born children of foreigners are not automatically granted citizenship on the basis of birth (but instead must wait until they are eighteen to apply for it and, even then, wait years for their applications to be processed), one of the biggest problems facing Haitian young people aspiring to pursue a college education is that, until recently, they did not qualify for resident tuition rates at the College of the Bahamas and, instead, were required to pay the non-resident tuition rate. Needless to say, this policy has prevented many otherwise qualified Haitian-Bahamians from going to college simply because they were unable to pay the non-resident tuition rate, which is double that of the the resident rate.

Thankfully, those days are behind us as C.O.B. has recently approved a new tuition policy which reclassifies most Haitian Bahamians (as well as Bahamian-born persons of other nationalities) as residents for purposes of tuition. In other words, Bahamian citizenship is no longer the sole factor in determining who does or does not qualify for resident tuition. C.O.B. is to be commended on this change in policy as it will go a long way towards making a college education more accessible to the growing number of people--Haitian or otherwise--who were born here, grew up here, and continue to live and work here. Hopefully, the Bahamas government will now follow C.O.B.'s lead and make efforts to more quickly and efficiently process the backlog of citizenship applications from the many Bahamian-born persons who consider the Bahamas to be their home.

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At Sunday, July 13, 2008 at 7:24:00 PM EST , Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is indeed good news for haitian-bahamians in particular.


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