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NMC Receives Funds to Continue College Access Program (September 25, 2013)

The U.S. Department of Education recently informed the Northern Marianas College that its application to continue the College Access Challenge Grant Program has been approved.

The CNMI College Access Challenge Grant (CACG) program is a community collaborative effort aimed at helping students who are Native Pacific Islanders and come from low-income families in the Commonwealth to enroll, remain, and succeed in college. This is the fifth year that the College is administering the grant program.

“The College has been able to assist thousands of CNMI students through the programs made available by the College Access Challenge Grant,” said NMC President Dr. Sharon Hart. “We are extremely glad that our grant application has been renewed and that we can continue promoting college enrollment and success on Tinian, Rota, and Saipan.”

According to Tim Baker, Director of Counseling Programs and Services and Project Director for the CACG program, the grant award is for $1.4 million.

“This is a very competitive grant, and we are pleased that the U.S. Department of Education has recognized the great progress we continue to make in helping students succeed in their academic journeys,” said Baker.

“Just this year, we helped more than 700 students receive need-based scholarships through the CACG Scholarship Program,” added Baker. “That’s more than ten times the number of students that received these scholarships only five years ago.”

According the Baker, the CACG program has also helped thousands of other students through events like the Start Smart Seminar, the Cash for College Workshop, the Climb Higher Summit, and the CACG Summer Academy.

The Start Smart brings all the seniors from all the public high schools of Saipan, Tinian, and Rota and provides them a forum to learn about preparing for college, financial aid options, and different career opportunities. The Cash for College Workshop is organized to assist students identify financial aid sources to help pay for their college expenses. In the last Cash for College workshop, more than 400 students attended.

The Climb Higher Summit provides nontraditional students, who are usually older and who possess a part-time or fill-time job, with the information they need to earn their degrees through the availability of flexible class schedules, more financial aid options, and other resources that are specifically designed for individuals are trying to balance work, family, and personal commitments.

The Summer Academy affords high school students an opportunity to gain meaningful college experience while they are earning transferable college credits. The Academy familiarizes students with college life while they are still in high school and can be an excellent way to help students prepare for their eventual transition to college after graduation.

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