The U.S. Department of Education has awarded $21.9 million to the Northern Marianas College to aid in the institution’s recovery efforts following the onslaught of Super Typhoon Yutu that left the college’s As Terlaje campus in ruins.
In a historic first, NMC was chosen as one of seven other higher education schools to receive funding from the U.S. Department of Education’s Emergency Assistance to Institutions of Higher Education program, with NMC being the highest recipient.
The six other recipient schools are Butte College, Butte-Glenn Community College District, Saint Augustine’s University, Gulf Coast State College, Coastal Carolina University, Albany State University, and Alabama College of Osteopathic Medicine. The second highest recipient, Butte College, received just a little over $4.2 million.
The U.S. Department of Education confirmed the award of $21.9 million to NMC yesterday.
“This U.S. Department of Education grant award is historic for the college,” said NMC interim president Frankie Eliptico.
The funding will go to recovery efforts, specifically to build more resilient facilities, since the CNMI is prone to facing devastating storms. Following Yutu, the devastation to the NMC campus included damage to 37 out of its 39 classrooms.
The $21.9 million is considered the highest amount ever awarded to NMC and is separate from the grant money that NMC also expects to get from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
“The funds will go a long way to assist in NMC’s recovery efforts and in the college’s aim to build modern, state-of-the-art, and resilient buildings and facilities,” said Eliptico.
He said the college also lost hundreds of computers, valuable lab equipment, its bookstore, vehicles, and other equipment were completely destroyed, and the college still holds classes in temporary classrooms built by FEMA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
“Despite the overwhelming damage from Super Typhoon Yutu, Northern Marianas College employees have been working extremely hard to ensure that students continue to receive a high quality education and excellent student service. The grant helps to boost morale on campus and sends a strong message to students that a new NMC is indeed coming,” Eliptico said.
Eliptico said the college is also pursuing more funding from the Economic Development Administration, the Community Development Block Grant program, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and other federal programs to pay for all the buildings it needs to fully recover from Super Typhoon Yutu.
Eliptico would like to express his gratitude to NMC’s staff, Board of Regents, the Office of Delegate Gregorio “Kilili” C. Sablan (Ind-Saipan), the Office of the Governor, and others who have provided support in the grant application process.