NMC seeks $1.5 grant to boost enrollment numbers

Monday, July 18, 2011

Saipan Tribune
By Moneth Deposa


The Northern Marianas College has submitted a grant application to avail of the $1.5 million College Access Challenge Grant Program funds provided by the U.S. Department of Education.

In her report to the Board of Regents on Thursday, NMC president Sharon Hart said that documents were submitted to the federal agency on July 13 as part of a renewal grant application.

She said that NMC has already identified the required matching funds for the grant.

The funding, if approved, will be administered by the Division of Student Services and will be used to promote higher education, increase college enrollment and success among low-income Pacific Island students in the Commonwealth.

Hart earlier disclosed that the college expects the fall enrollment numbers to go down after many current and ongoing students asked for the release of their transcript to off-island colleges and universities.

Also, Hart disclosed that the college is awaiting word from the U.S. Education Department on the status of its grant application for the Educational Talent Search Program, or TRIO. This, she said, is a continuation of its grant for the next five years. The five-year award period is between Sept. 1, 2011 and Aug. 31, 2016.

Hart said the program currently operates on about $306,000 per year with six staffers spread out between three islands.

As of July 13, 2011, Hart said, the Pacific Islands Chapter of WESTOP report that Palau Community College and the University of Guam have confirmed receipt of funding for the region.

Thursday’s board meeting was Hart’s first. She officially assumed office on July 5.

In her first report to the regents, she highlighted the “impressive” show of support demonstrated by employees and staff for the new leadership and their commitment to work with the management.

She also commended former interim president Lorraine Cabrera for leading the institution for more than a year since January 2010.

In her first week, she also met with Interior Secretary Tony Babauta and participated in a meeting with the CNMI Energy Task Force on Wednesday. She vowed to provide a monthly report to the regents to keep them abreast of issues surrounding the college and plans to provide a quarterly update to the Legislature.

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