By Amiracle Grant
Three Florida A&M University (FAMU) Bahamian students each received $4,000 grants from a New York City-based nonprofit to help them stay in school after their homeland was devastated by Hurricane Dorian.
The Institute of International Education (IIE) notified Laura Knowles, Robert Brown, and Lorento Fox of the grants to continue their studies at FAMU on Nov. 12.
Following the devastation caused by Hurricane Dorian in September, the IIE created the Bahamas Emergency Student Fund (ESF) to provide grants of $2,000-$5,000 to students so that they are able to avoid prematurely dropping out and returning home.
“As a child of a single parent, it was always difficult to be able to pay my tuition before being sent to collections with an additional fee. Since Hurricane Dorian has hit, it has been even more difficult,” Knowles said. “Although my family does not reside in Grand Bahama or Abaco, Nassau experienced intense flooding, damaging my family’s home.”
Accredited U.S. campuses were invited to nominate up to five students for whom help is needed to complete the fall 2019 semester. According to the FAMU Office of International Education and Development (OIED), 38 Bahamians students are registered at FAMU. Following the disaster, FAMU President Larry Robinson, Ph.D., and administrators pledged to do all they can to ensure the academic success of the Bahamian students. The FAMU Office of International Education and Development (OIED) nominated five students.
“For students from the Bahamas, many of whom have lost everything, receiving this grant can be the difference between having to drop out of college or being able to continue and complete their degrees,” said William T. Hyndman III, assistant vice president OIED. “We are grateful to the Institute for International Education for supporting these students.”
IIE received more than 150 applications for 42 ESF grants.
“The students selected for ESF awards were prioritized by their need and close proximity to graduation. We are sorry that we could not provide support to a greater number of nominees and remain sympathetic of the difficulties that these students face due to Hurricane Dorian,” IIE said in a statement announcing the grants.
Grant recipient Robert Brown was born and raised in Freeport, Grand Bahama. He and his younger brother, Robin Brown, both attend FAMU.
“My family was directly impacted from Hurricane Dorian,” said Brown, a senior electronic engineering technology student.
Architecture student Lorento Fox said his family was also greatly impacted by Hurricane Dorian.
“Even though Hurricane Dorian impacted Abaco and Grand Bahama greatly, New Providence still felt a large surge in regards to damages to certain areas of the island,” said Fox. “My family has faced major flooding damages to our home within New Providence and instead of taking from them, I chose to find another means of handling my education.”
Fox said the devastation caused by Hurricane Dorian and the assistance of the Bahamas-ESF award gives him extra motivation to complete his degree so that he can return home and help rebuild his homeland.