Saipan Higher Education Financial Aid Council passed Council Resolution 2021-002, which requires applicants to complete two years of post-secondary education at Saipan-based educational institutions, such as the Northern Marianas College and the Northern Marianas Technical Institute.
SHEFA Board Chairman Oscar M. Babauta and Members Raymond M. Muna and Kaelani Demapan voted to pass the resolution on Thursday, February 18, 2021.
This is the result of several ongoing discussions since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, the board said.
The policy requires that new applicants applying for SHEFA assistance “be limited in the first two years of post-secondary study to grants and other assistance only for study undertaken in the Commonwealth offered by accredited colleges or universities in the states. -United in [particular,] Northern Mariana College and professional certification at the Northern Mariana Technical Institute or other approved business institutions, including online courses.
Board resolution 2021-002 states that “the limited resources available and the urgent need for an increased local workforce necessitate measures to conserve resources and focus on maximizing support for the largest possible student population and the most basic educational needs in support of the development of the Island workforce.
Amid the unprecedented economic circumstances within CNMI due to the Covid-19 pandemic, SHEFA’s Board of Directors believes that “scholarships should be spent in the local economy to help educational institutions, local businesses and the community, which in turn helps students and families on the island.
The Board of Directors “has determined that the public interest and the efficient allocation of limited resources to achieve the greatest benefit are best served by adopting a policy requiring that applicants for SHEFA assistance for the first time undertake their two first years of study on Saipan, and for the continued suspension of Priority Field Scholarships and Merit Incentive Scholarships [for new and ongoing applicants]. “