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Federal Financial Aid Continued for NMC’s Bachelor Degree Program Participants (August 16, 2013)

The Northern Marianas College today announced that the U.S. Department of Education is allowing the College’s Bachelor in Education program to continue to receive federal financial aid for 18 months.

“We are extremely pleased to be making this announcement, as we know that many of our students were anxiously waiting to hear how the U.S. Department of Education would decided on this issue,” said NMC President Dr. Sharon Hart. “I am glad that our students can now look forward to a great Fall 2013 semester without having to worry about the availability of federal financial aid.”

The extension of time was provided to allow the College to pursue proper accreditation for its Bachelor in Education Program that would satisfy Title IV requirements.

“The College is very thankful to USDOE Under Secretary Martha J. Kanter and her staff for taking the time to meet with us earlier this month and of course for their positive response,” added President Hart.

“At this time I would like to especially thank Chris Timmons, Charlotte Cepeda, and Leo Pangelinan, for accompanying me to Washington D.C. We specifically requested an 18 month extension, which I am so pleased was just granted,” said Hart in an email to the campus community.

“Also, I'd like to thank Congressman Sablan and his staff for their assistance throughout the process with the Department of Education; Governor Inos for his strong letter of support written and presented to Dr. Kanter; and, the Joint Resolution passed by the CNMI Legislature to the Honorable Arne Duncan, Secretary of the US Dept of Education, urging the Department to render NMC's Bachelor's Program in Education eligible for Federal Financial Aid,” said Hart. “I am sure this full team effort by all parties contributed to the overall positive decision just rendered by the Under Secretary.”

For more than a decade, the Northern Marianas College has been jointly accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC) and the Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities (ACSCU). Both of these agencies are part of the Western Association for Schools and Colleges (WASC).

The USDOE had earlier indicated through its communication with NMC’s accreditors that dual accreditation is not in accordance with its policy. The Department indicated that based on its view, the joint accreditation process overseen by ACCJC is inconsistent with the Higher Education Act (HEA).

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