Saipan Higher Education Financial Assistance is studying a proposal to help to help fund Northern Marianas College’s Prior Learning Assessment, a program where learning is gained outside a traditional academic environment.
NMC provides credit for Prior Learning wherein college credit is awarded for knowledge gained through training, employment, and life-experiences, as self-assessed and documented in a portfolio.
Prior Learning Assessment is a 3-credit course being offered at NMC that helps students develop a portfolio that includes a written analysis of what they learned and how they applied this knowledge in the workplace at a level that merits college credit consideration.
SHEFA board member Ursula Aldan, who chairs the committee on policy and procedure, said that this would help CNMI students become active in the workplace.
In a board meeting last July, Aldan said she would work with NMC in considering the program later last month, however, there isn’t any further details.
SHEFA chair Oscar Babauta agreed with the idea and supported it wholly, noting that NMC’s professional development program will allow individuals working either in the government or the private sector to utilize their work experience toward earning a college degree.
So far, Aldan is working with SHEFA’s program and development committee to take a look at statutes and consider providing a set amount every year.
An example of the assistance Aldan proposed is $100,000 for government workers interested in turning their experience to college credits and obtaining a degree.
“This is a very good program that we can revisit and help those in the work area who don’t have a degree but can get one through NMC’s program,” Aldan said.