Acting governor Eloy S. Inos signed into law on Friday a bill allowing Northern Marianas College's Board of Regents to make certain exceptions to the basic residency requirement.
Rep. Janet Maratita's (R-Saipan) House Bill 17-294, House Draft 1 is now Public Law 17-78.
“That's great news. Great also for NMC as they have been lobbying for its passage and now the acting governor signed it into law,” Maratita, the bill's author, told Saipan Tribune yesterday.
Maratita, in her legislation, said it is in the CNMI's best interest to provide prospective students with greater access and with more opportunities to avail of the resident tuition rate in connection to their enrollment at NMC.
For instance, military personnel who are returning from duty should be afforded resident tuition rate upon their return.
Affording resident tuition to more students lowers the cost to education for prospective students, provides additional incentives for new students to enroll in degree programs, and provides additional incentives for some continuing students to remain enrolled, she said.
The newly-signed law, however, has a sunset provision which is two years after the effective date or Sept. 30, 2014, whichever comes first.
Maratita also said it is important to allow NMC's Board of Regents to make exceptions to the 12-month basic rule for determining resident tuition because of the CNMI's efforts to become a member of the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education, or WICHE.
WICHE allows students from member states to benefit from significantly-reduced tuition rates at various public institutions in the western United States, where many students from the CNMI are pursuing their post-secondary education.