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WIU President Jack Thomas, Kim Hurtault-Osborne, executive secretary for Integral Development and Mikhail Bullard, second secretary, alternate representative, Embassy of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas in Washington D.C.
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WIU Selected as Preferred Education Provider for Bahamian Students

April 17, 2017

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MACOMB/MOLINE, IL -- Western Illinois University is among nine United States and Canadian higher education institutions selected as a preferred education provider for undergraduate and graduate students from the Bahamas through an agreement with the Organization of American States (OAS).

According to Jeff Hancks, interim executive director of the School of Distance Learning, International Studies and Outreach, high-achieving students from the Bahamas will receive a $7,500 scholarship from the Bahamian government to attend one of the nine select institutions. Hancks noted that students can apply to three of the nine schools, and their government will make the final decision regarding attendance for Fall 2017.

"We are pleased that Western has been selected by the Bahamian government to participate in this pilot program," said WIU President Jack Thomas. "Our goal is to continue to enhance our University's globalization efforts and provide outstanding educational opportunities to students from around the world. We look forward to welcoming Bahamian students to our country and to our University."

Undergraduate students can choose from the following degree programs: agriculture, anthropology, construction management, engineering, fire protection services, foreign languages and literatures, hospitality management, political science, recreation, park and tourism administration (RPTA) and geography/GIS. Master's students can choose from political science, RPTA, museum studies and geography.

"We are excited to enter into the agreement with the OAS and the Commonwealth of the Bahamas," Hancks added. "International students are an integral part of our University's fabric, and we are delighted to welcome new students to campus from the Bahamas."

According to Hancks, the initial groundwork for the agreement began several months ago with former executive director Rick Carter and Christie Carmack, assistant director of marketing and international relations.

"Other schools selected for this program include larger universities such as the University of Florida, Syracuse and American University," he explained. "To be selected alongside these institutions signifies that the OAS and the Government of the Bahamas recognize that WIU provides outstanding academic programs and services to our students."

For more information on the OAS-Bahamas program and other Center for International Studies initiatives, contact Hancks or Carmack at or visit

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Office of University Relations