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Friday, April 18, 2014

Over a hundred college students denied SHEFA grants
‘SHEFA’s fiscal year 2014 $3M budget remains intact’

A large volume of college students wanting to avail of Saipan Higher Educational Financial Assistance grants has been rejected after failing to meet the requirements needed to pursue their spring term studies here and abroad.

As of Feb. 20, SHEFA has denied 114 applications, primarily for not meeting the grade point average requirement and for failing to satisfy the credits required by the end of the term, according to SHEFA administrator Merissa S. Rasa.

The number of denied applications may still increase in the coming weeks pending the review of all applications for spring 2014 semester.

Rasa said there remains 781 pending applications.

Approval or denial of these applications is contingent on the supporting documents to be submitted by the students, which are due on Feb. 28.

SHEFA provides financial awards for grand-in-aid, field of study, and performance-based or incentive award.

For undergraduate students and field of study, the requirement is 2.5 cumulative GPA. For performance-based scholarships, the requirement is 3.5 GPA. For graduate and advanced students, the SHEFA requirement is “pass or no pass grading.”

In her report to the board Thursday, Rasa indicated that SHEFA received 1,237 applications for the spring 2014 term. Of this, 27 are students of the Northern Marianas Trade Institute while the rest are from the Northern Marianas College and other universities and colleges abroad.

The applications for spring 2014 term include 305 new students; 80 returning recipients; and 852 ongoing students.

As of Thursday, Rasa has completed reviewing 456 applications, of which 342 have been approved and 114 were denied.

Saipan Tribune learned that of the 1,237 applications received, 721 are marked “pending,” awaiting supporting documents. As of last week, one student has appealed the denial while two were deferred.

$3M intact

Rasa disclosed that SHEFA’s budget for its scholarship awards for the current fiscal year remains intact at $3 million.

What the office is using to provide financial assistance for spring is the remaining portion of the fiscal year 2013 budget appropriated by the Legislature.

She said the total amount distributed so far for spring 2014 is $697,000 and there remains about $300,000 in lapsed funds under the fiscal year 2013 account.

“We haven’t touched the $3 million budget for fiscal year 2014,” said Rasa, adding that SHEFA received last week three of the six batches of check requests from the Department of Finance.

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