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WICHE President to Visit CNMI (November 28, 2013)

To underscore the higher education opportunities available through membership in the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE), Dr. David Longenecker, president of WICHE, will be on island next week to meet with local and regional leaders and to take part in the upcoming Micronesian Chief Executive Summit.

“This is a great coup for the CNMI,” said NMC President Dr. Sharon Y. Hart. “Nationally, Dr. Longenecker is one of the most influential leaders in higher education and we are extremely thankful that he’ll be spending some time meeting with local government, private sector, and educational leaders to discuss a variety of issues.”

Prior to becoming the president of WICHE, Longanecker served for six years as the assistant secretary for postsecondary education at the U.S. Department of Education, developing and implementing national policy and programs that provided more than $40 billion annually in student aid and $1 billion to institutions.

Prior to that he was the state higher education executive officer (SHEEO) in Colorado and Minnesota. He was also the principal analyst for higher education for the Congressional Budget Office. President Hart noted that Dr. Longanecker was extremely instrumental during the College’s successful efforts earlier this year to convince the U.S. Department of Education to continue federal financial aid for NMC’s bachelor degree program participants.

“Dr. Longanecker flew to Washington D.C. to join us in our meeting with officials from the U.S. Department of Education,” said President Hart. “His advocacy on behalf of the Northern Marianas College was extremely helpful during this difficult time.”

The Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education is a regional organization that, until recently, had 15 member states: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawai'i, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington and Wyoming. The CNMI became the 16th member of WICHE last year after considerable support from the CNMI governor and members of the legislature.

The organization works to improve access to higher education and ensure student success. Among other benefits, membership in WICHE allows CNMI students who are pursuing their college degree to be eligible for reduced tuition rates at 2- and 4- year public post-secondary institutions like California State University, University of Nevada in Las Vegas, Boise State University, Washing State University, and other universities and colleges in the western U.S.

For graduate students (those pursuing a master’s or doctorate degree), WICHE’s “Western Regional Graduate Program” enables students to enroll in more than 250 graduate programs and pay the resident tuition rate, instead of the nonresident rate that an out-of-state student would normally pay.

Dr. Longanecker will be accompanied by Dennis Mohatt, WICHE Vice President for Behavioral Health, during his visit to the CNMI.

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