More and more students are seeking financial assistance for their college expenses based on the latest records of the CNMI Scholarship Office, which saw a significant growth in its number of applicants this semester.
Scholarship Office administrator Rose S. Pangelinan disclosed to Saipan Tribune that a total of 928 students have applied for the government’s Educational Assistance Program and the Honors Scholarship Program for fall 2013.
This is a large increase from fall 2012’s total, which saw 619 eligible applicants for both the EAP and Honors scholarship programs.
Records show that for school year 2013-2014, there were a total of 363 new student scholars composed of 251 from the Northern Marianas College and 112 enrolled in off-island universities and colleges.
The number of ongoing students who were also approved for grants rose to 401 this new semester, of which 231 are enrolled at NMC, 146 are studying in off-island colleges and universities, and 24 eligible applicants that remain undecided.
Still under EAP, Pangelinan said a total 134 are returning students. Of this number, 74 are from NMC, 58 are studying off island, and two remain undecided.
Saipan Tribune learned that of the 928 eligible students, about 40 continue to avail of the Honors scholarship awards. That program has stopped accepting new applicants after the expiration of the sunset provision that created the program. Pursuant to Public Law 14-37, the CNMI Scholarship Office can only offer the Honors scholarship program through December 2012.
The CNMI Scholarship Office continues to fund the ongoing Honors students until the end of their courses and programs. Saipan Tribune learned that majority of Honors recipients are completing their degrees in off-island universities and colleges.
Under the EAP program, eligible applicants receive $1,050 per semester if they are pursuing their studies outside the Commonwealth. For EAP recipients enrolled at NMC, the financial assistance amounts to $908 per school year.
The existing Honors scholarship awards provides 43 recipients up to $15,000 based on the student’s “unmet” needs.
Pangelinan is unsure yet if the same amounts will be given this new academic term because awards are always contingent on the budget that will be provided to the program.
The budget for fiscal year 2014 remains pending at the Legislature. In fiscal year 2013, the budget for the two scholarship programs totaled $1.6 million.