Two members of the Saipan Higher Education Financial Assistance board believe that the Northern Marianas Trades Institute should be accredited first before its students are given any financial aid.
SHEFA board members Francisco Cabrera and Raymond Muña brought up the matter at the SHEFA board’s monthly meeting yesterday at the Saipan Mayor’s Office conference room.
Cabrera did clarify that he was stating this in his personal capacity and not on behalf of the SHEFA board.
Cabrera said that this is not as a directive from the SHEFA board, but he believes that now that the NMTI is assembling a board of its own, it should consider obtaining accreditation.
He pointed out that both the University of Guam and the Guam Community College are accredited; the same thing cannot be said when comparing the Northern Marianas College, which is accredited, and NMTI, which is not.
Now that NMTI has a board and is now a government entity, it should provide SHEFA with its goals and objectives on the subject of accreditation, Cabrera said.
NMC is currently accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, or WASC.
Muña insists that he fully supports NMTI and their endeavors, and says that they are doing a great job but the SHEFA board should also be responsible in how it gives away its scholarship funds.
Muña sees no issue with providing financial aid to NMC students since the college is accredited and must follow WASC expectations.
“We want to help them [NMTI], but we need to know what they’re going to do,” Muña said. He suggested that NMTI can also secure accreditation from WASC.
Both believe that the NMTI will soon reach out to SHEFA for assistance
Acting SHEFA board chair Juan Tenorio said he understands the two members’ concerns about this matter and that SHEFA will need to communicate with NMTI about moving toward accreditation.
CNMI Public Law 20-92 converted NMTI into a government entity last February. The group was a private, non-profit school before the passage of P.L. 20-92.