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Saipan Tribune: Financial challenges no barrier to college (August 14, 2018)

A lack of funds should not dampen the spirits of highly motivated high school graduates to seek the course they want to pursue and live their dream of postsecondary education.

As the only public tertiary school in the CNMI, the Northern Marianas College sees to it that financial capacity is not a prerequisite for a student to begin studying at the college. Frankie Eliptico, vice president for Administration and Advancement, said the Northern Marianas College is committed to providing each CNMI student access to high quality educational programs, regardless of a student’s financial need.

“Our Financial Aid Office works with students to identify grant and scholarship opportunities to help them pay for tuition, books, and other college expenses,” he said.

“…We do work closely with students on a one-on-one basis to assess their financial situation and extend assistance where we can. For example, for some students who may find it challenging to pay for tuition, we offer a tuition payment plan,” he added.

Eliptico said there is a broad availability of financial programs for NMC students. “There are several financial aid programs that students can access, depending on their eligibility. These include the Federal Financial Aid program that uses the FAFSA form. Locally, there is the CNMI Scholarship, the Saipan Higher Education Financial Aid program, and municipal scholarships provided by the Rota and Tinian municipal governments,” he said.

“There are also other private scholarships provided by companies like the Tan Siu Lin Foundation, First Hawaiian Bank, and other organizations,” he added.

Throughout the school year, NMC does outreach events. “For instance, every six months NMC hosts a Cash for College event that helps students fill forms for the FAFSA, CNMI Scholarship, SHEFA, and other financial aid programs. Thousands of students have attended Cash for College over the years and have been able to obtain much needed financial assistance from various scholarship programs,” Eliptico said.

“There are also many ‘work/study’ opportunities for students at NMC. These ‘work/study’ positions allow students to gain valuable work experience while earning some income,” he added.

Overall, there is no reason not to get into college in the Marianas. “There is an abundance of local and national scholarship resources that students can tap to help them pay for their college education. In addition to the [financial aid program, there are] loan programs, private grant and scholarship programs, and some international opportunities as well,” Eliptico said.

“The abundance of available financial aid goes a long way in helping students earn their college degrees and to alleviate financial difficulty,” he added.

Other companies that extend financial assistance are Express Financial located at Chalan Monsignor Guerrero with contact number (670) 235-6032 and Bank of Saipan with branches in Garapan with contact number (670) 235-30-90 and Chalan Kanoa with contact number (670) 235-6260.

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