SHEFA posts $23,000 collection from scholars’ loans

»‘Financial aid disbursed since inception at $23M’

The Saipan Higher Education Financial Assistance, or SHEFA, has been able to collect a significant amount from loans made by its scholars in the last nine years since its creation.

SHEFA administrator Merissa S. Rasa disclosed in her 2013 Annual Report released yesterday that collections from loan repayment is currently at $23,101, which covers the period from 2004 through 2013.

The report indicates that SHEFA began collecting loan repayments in 2006 when it initially collected $553. A year after, the collection grew to $3,525. From 2008 through 2010, SHEFA showed an average annual flat rate collection ranging from $2,000 to $2,500 per year.

It was in 2011 when the program recorded the highest loan repayment of $5,745 from defaulted scholars. In 2012, the office was able to collect a meager $666 until last year, 2013, when repayment jumped to $5,745 again.

Based on SHEFA rules and policy, within three months of successful completion or 30 days of termination or non-enrollment from the institution of record, whichever event occurs first, the recipient of financial assistance from the SHEFA fund is required to return to Saipan for employment and/or to provide services in the private or public section on Saipan.

If a former recipient decides to remain and work abroad three months after completion or termination of his or her college studies, the grant assistance converts into a loan that must be repaid.

Rasa also disclosed in her report that from 2004 through 2013, the government invested a total of $22.942 million to help local students pursue degrees here and abroad.

Total awards provided for the nine-year period is broken down as follows: 2004, $170,600; 2005, $1.925 million; 2006, $2.782 million; 2007, $2.302 million; 2008, $3.026 million; 2009, $3.078 million; 2010, $3.654 million; 2011, $2.810 million; 2012, $1.540 million; and 2013, $1.651 million.

Only students of Saipan and the Northern Islands) are eligible for SHEFA assistance. Funding for this program is sourced from poker and pachinko machines’ local license fees.

2013 highlights

Rasa cited several highlights for 2013. Besides the reappointment of some board members and a new member, she reported that the office was also able to publish revision to its rules and regulations in the Commonwealth Register.

She also cited the CNMI’s membership in the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education, which gives eligible CNMI residents discounted tuition rates at more than 150 colleges and universities in California, Oregon, Washington, and other western states.

“Awards continue to be requested and released in a timely manner. Appeals have also been addressed and resolved in a timely manner,” indicated Rasa’s report.

Additionally, she said SHEFA continues to collaborate with the Office of Personnel Management and the Workforce Investment Agency to assist graduates or previous recipients in getting them hired or for further training.

SHEFA also continues to partner with the Workforce Investment Agency every summer to provide employment training to WIA trainees. SHEFA also makes continuous onsite presentations about the program in various educational institutions.

Through the use of networking sites such as Facebook, SHEFA is able to announce financial assistance opportunities, training/workshop opportunities and employment opportunities, to name a few, to many of its current and previous recipients.

Moneth G. Deposa | Reporter

Related Posts

Disclaimer: Comments are moderated. They will not appear immediately or even on the same day. Comments should be related to the topic. Off-topic comments would be deleted. Profanities are not allowed. Comments that are potentially libelous, inflammatory, or slanderous would be deleted.