News

Low enrollment forces MERP relocation

by: Ashley Penn, FN Reporter

After approximately three years of operation, the Medical Review Program (MERP) of Ross University will be relocating to South Florida, a move which is reportedly sparked by low enrollment numbers.

MERP's closing is scheduled for the end of November 2013.

Speaking on the matter via telephone interview was the Senior Director of Communications, Christopher Railey, who explained the reason behind the move.

" Devry Medical International overseas and the Medical Education Review Program has made the decision to relocate the program to South Florida and on Monday we informed the government and the Port Authority. The rationale behind the decision is to really ensure the program's competitive edge and attractiveness to new students they were trying to recruit into the program.

"Many of those students are residents of the United States. Our move to South Florida will really simplify logistics in terms of transportation and other things for many of those students,"  he said.

Railey went on to say, "Ross University back in 2009 attempted to establish a medical school campus in Freeport, but it did not gain approval for it. What they did at that time was locate the MERP program there. So MERP is operated by Devry Medical International, which is a subsidiary of the larger company Devry. MERP has a formal relationship with Ross University School of Medicine, such that students who are granted conditional acceptance to Ross University are then invited to enroll in the MERP Program. When they complete that program, they are then eligible to matriculate to Ross." 

The institution's Director of Communications assured that Ross University had a successful run while on the island, despite the recent decision to close its doors.

"It's been a great partnership in Freeport and I think everyone from faculty to students had a great experience there. The Bahamas has been a really great partner to us,"  he concluded.

Minister for Grand Bahama, Dr. Michael confirmed medical institutionâ s closing and shed light on some of the setbacks Ross University encountered while operating on the island.

"Some time last week the Medical Review Program clearly indicated their plans to cease operation in Grand Bahama. Ross University on opening their campus here on Grand Bahama, never received accreditation from the state of California and subsequently they were unable to accomplish that mission,"  he said.

Darville said, "there are a few Bahamians who received their initial training from Ross University and when they came to the island of Grand Bahama, they came with the intention of establishing a full campus as a sister campus to another campus in Dominica. Subsequently, they were unable to get the necessary accreditation and financing, and the concept of the university at its Freeport campus never really fully materialized." 

Saddened by the upcoming transfer, the Minister for Grand Bahama said that it was unfortunate the institution was unable to reach its initial goal.

"After going into that investment and being unable to get the accreditation under Devry they subsequently established MERP, which is a preparatory feeder facility to Ross University. However, the program itself did not attract the volume of students they expected. It's sad, because here it is they were unable to accomplish their mission from the start and we thought that at least we would have been able to have students preparing to enter Ross University here in Grand Bahama,"  he added.

Minister Darville noted that the government in conjunction with the Bahamas Investment Board have been in talks with a few partners who have expressed interest in the island for a similar purpose.

"The Ministry of Grand Bahama and the Bahamas Investment Board have been in communication with one or two additional partners expressing interest to establish an offshore medical facility here in Grand Bahama like Ross. Our ears are to the ground and a part of Grand Bahama shifting its gears having a college as part of our new branding for Grand Bahama and we have had discussions with the Grand Bahama Port Authority with a potential client,"  Darville disclosed.

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