NMC loses Upward Bound grant

Posted on May 22 2012
Third grant to be rejected in 3 consecutive years
By Clarissa V. David

The grant application of the Northern Marianas College for the Upward Bound program has been turned down.

Dr. Sharon Y. Hart, president of the CNMI’s community college, delivered the bad news to the Board of Regents during yesterday’s meeting.

“We have received word this past week that the Upward Bound grant that we submitted was not approved,” Hart told the board.

Upward Bound is a federally funded program under the U.S. Department of Education that serves high school students from low-income families and those from families in which neither parent holds a bachelor’s degree. It aims to prepare participants to enter, enroll and graduate from college.

The program has a grant cycle between four and five years. The competitive grant application is opened on the third year to qualified institutions throughout the nation and NMC was previously approved for the grant for five years.

Hart said that NMC has been receiving the grant since its inception.

Based on the information they received the last few days, Hart said that NMC will still not qualify for the grant even if there is leftover funding for the program due to the college’s low scoring.

“It doesn’t look good for us,” Hart said.

Although Hart did not disclose the score at the meeting, she said that the maximum rating for Upward Bound applications is 107.

The Upward Bound Program is the third federally funded program that NMC has lost in the last three years, according to Student Services dean Leo Pangelinan.

Pangelinan told Saipan Tribune that NMC also lost the Educational Talent Search program last year and the Student Support Services program in 2010. All three grants make up NMC’s TRIO program.

According to Pangelinan, the rejection of the Upward Bound grant application will affect six staff under the program, all of whom have already been informed about this.

Hart said she is “shocked and extremely disappointed” with the application denial at a time when the college actually hired the services of a grant writer who specializes in the Upward Bound grant “because we knew how important this grant is going to be for the institution.”

She noted at the meeting that the same grant writer worked on the Upward Bound application of the University of Guam, which was approved.

Hart emphasized that they are working “almost on a daily basis” with the office of CNMI Delegate Gregorio Kilili Sablan to see what could be done to remedy the situation. They also plan to sit down with officials of the U.S. Department of Education to find out what happened.

Additionally, Hart underscored the need for them to be “very, very aggressive” in working with federal authorities to ensure that NMC maintains its grants-in the same way that the Public School System is aggressive with its federal funding by being in Washington “all the time.”

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