Some students are falling through cracks at NMI Scholarship Office

Some college students have found their experience with the CNMI Scholarship Office to be less than satisfactory.

Elvymae Sablan, a student at DeVry University, said she was denied a scholarship because she was told that she missed the Sept. 30 deadline to submit her documents. However, she said she submitted her documents on Sept. 23.

The office’s denial letter also cited her failure to meet the office’s required cumulative grade point average of 2.75. However, she said her most recent GPA is above this mark.

“I paid for my educational expense in the summer, fall, and spring of 2013 and 2014 at the DeVry University, achieving a cumulative GPA of 3.5 or greater. My most recent GPA should have reinstated my educational credibility to compete and receive the scholarship. I’m convinced that the [scholarship] board adjudicated my appeal results solely on my cumulative GPA from Tacoma Community College,” she said. Her TCC GPA was 2.65 from 2005.

The Scholarship Office has yet to respond to Saipan Tribune’s queries as of press time.

A Northern Marianas College student who spoke on the condition of anonymity said she was initially denied on the ground that she did not turn her papers in on time. She, however, contested the denial letter and proved she did turn in her documents by the office’s deadline.

According to her, the office told her that her documents were received and the issue was cleared. But when the scholarships were disbursed this semester, the student said she was not awarded one.

She said the office told her she was ineligible for the scholarship. She had been in college more than the period of time covered by it.

In an interview, she said she thought the decision was justified but the timing “poor.” She hoped that there would be better communication with other students.

One father said his son, an off-island student, was denied on the ground that he was not a resident of the CNMI, despite earlier submitting a U.S. passport and birth certificate.

His son left for school this year. On his son’s behalf, the father turned in a voter’s certificate from the Commonwealth Election Commission this semester. The son had been a registered voter since 2012, the father said.

However, according to the father, the son was denied near the scholarship’s deadline. His son sent an email to the office with no reply, according to the dad.

They chose not to contest the issue as they felt it a moot point.

Dennis B. Chan | Reporter
Dennis Chan covers education, environment, utilities, and air and seaport issues in the CNMI. He graduated with a degree in English Literature from the University of Guam. Contact him at dennis_chan@saipantribune.com.

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