Program basically guarantees college degree for anyone in the CNMI who attends NMC
Starting this fall 2022 semester, any U.S. citizen who pursues a degree at the Northern Marianas College will “be provided the financial resources needed to cover the full cost of tuition and fees for the first two years.”
That, in essence, encapsulates the “Proa Promise Program,” which was unveiled last Friday, April 29, at the Royal Taga Ballroom of the Saipan World Resort during NMC’s 2nd Annual Research Symposium. The program is spearheaded by the NMC Board of Regents.
NMC president Galvin De Leon Guerrero, Ed.D., who launched the program before NMC students, educators, CNMI lawmakers, and other community members, said the “Proa Promise Program” provides students a “last-dollar scholarship,” meaning the program will cover the cost of tuition and mandatory fees that are not covered by the Pell grant, other federal financial aid, CNMI Scholarship grants, municipal scholarships (Saipan Higher Education Financial Aid, Tinian Municipal Scholarship, or Rota Municipal Scholarship), military educational benefits, and private scholarships.
Soon after the program’s unveiling, NMC immediately signed up four brand new students who will be enrolling at NMC this fall semester: Christopher Pangelinan from Grace Christian Academy, Daren Angel Johnson from Kagman High School, Ejay Aguirre from Marianas High School, and Margarita Terlaje from Mount Carmel School.
De Leon Guerrero emphasized that NMC will never break that promise of education, and that “the only way we can realize the promise of education is to fulfill our promise” to education.
“Education is the ultimate promise. We know that people with a college education not only…make more money, they tend to live longer, healthier lives, and they tend to be much more engaged civically. But the promise of education can only be realized when we fulfill our promise to education,” he added.
According to De Leon Guerrero, NMC will be the first in the Pacific and only the second in the nation to roll out a program that’s going to basically guarantee a college degree for anyone in the CNMI who chooses to attend NMC.
According to De Leon Guerrero, this initiative comes after many conferences and discussions, and in the wake of a previous national conversation about making community colleges free (which has not happened yet). He said NMC decided to give it a go and try to push for this new initiative to make college more accessible.
He said NMC will also roll out a new set of “wraparound services” to provide students with the academic, social, and technical support needed throughout the course of their college career. “This includes implementing a cohort-based learning system with the incoming freshmen class and providing mentorship to students by both their peers and college employees.”
NMC will also help graduates transition out with a robust set of career placement services that ensure gainful employment and contribute to the workforce needs of the NMI.
“Community colleges have always made a difference, especially for those with the greatest need and the least resources. NMC is proud to be a community college that supports all our students,” De Leon Guerrero said in a later interview.