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Marianas Variety: NMC asks SHEFA board to implement first-year enrollment policy (May 10, 2019)

NORTHERN Marianas College’s top officials met on Thursday with the Saipan Higher Education Financial Assistance board to discuss the proposal to require SHEFA recipients to enroll at NMC for the first year of college.

NMC vice president Cindy Deleon Guerrero said it should be part of the requirement for all scholarship recipients.

“[This is] really promoting, supporting and sustaining our workforce here in the CNMI,” she said, adding when students stay on island, they spend money here.

“The first-year enrolment at NMC is critical,” she added.

She noted that many students enrolled at NMC for their first year in college are more ready when they transfer to a college or university in the states.

“These students already know what to expect — they understand their timelines and how the semester system works,” she added.

Based on SHEFA reports, 15 percent of its 2,500 off-island recipients have returned to the CNMI to work.NMC interim President Frankie Eliptico said based on data, when students go to a local community college first, they get better grades, better rates and other benefits.

Eliptico said he is hoping that SHEFA could finalize the policy requiring its recipients to enroll at NMC in their first year in college in 2020.

“The CNMI is not in the best financial situation right now. So we just want to keep lots of our local dollars locally,” he added.

SHEFA board chairman Oscar M. Babauta said 80 percent of their recipients enroll at NMC.

But he added that the board understands NMC’s request which may require amending SHEFA regulations.

He said the board will consult with its legal counsel. “We’re open to anything that can allow us to advocate for the continued development of our local workforce.”

SHEFA board vice chair Juan “Shine” Tenorio said NMC could also adopt the University of Guam’s scholarship program for young athletes.

“There are lots of students in the CNMI who are into sports,” he said. “And we do want to offer the best to the students of the CNMI.”

Tenorio said SHEFA will “consider all aspects to help facilitate the education of our students.”

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