Jan. 17 marked the start of the spring semester of 2017 for the Northern Marianas College and its first day of the year.
NMC’s focus this semester is the Prior Learning Assessment Program, which allows students under this program to gain college credits through knowledge gained from job experience and job training.
“[NMC] has been getting a great response from the community,” said Frankie Eliptico, NMC’s director of institutional advancement. “We were able to emphasize the prior learning assessment program this spring semester.”
NMC president Dr. Carmen Fernandez said the numbers of PLA enrollees this year is a big improvement compared to previous years.
“There are four sections of the PLA program right now, which is over 100 students. There are more [classes of PLA] to open soon,” said Fernandez.
Eliptico said that less than 10 students enrolled in the PLA program last school year.
In contrast, the number of regular NMC students is at over 1,000.
“We are still in the registration period this week, so the final number is yet to be confirmed,” he said. “We have over 1,000 students [enrolled] already,” he added. “Students are still adding and dropping schedules, so the final number of students can not be confirmed.”
NMC students themselves are optimistic.
“The day is going pretty good. It’s just the books—it’s really hard to try and find books. …I am looking forward to all the challenges that are coming this semester,” said Joseph Guerrero Jr., a student majoring in criminal justice.
Gemma Somol, a student of NMC’s bachelor’s degree course business management, thinks that NMC has seen a lot of improvements on campus.
“The bookstore was just recently renovated. We don’t have a student center, but according the president Fernandez, a 24-hour room would be open for students who would like to study. I also noticed that there are more classrooms, and a lot of other things have been approved,” she said.
The former NMC student center was wrecked by Typhoon Soudelor last August 2015 and is now being converted into a computer room for students.