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‘Please understand SHEFA’s financial situation’

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SAIPAN Mayor David M. Apatang is asking  Saipan Higher Education Financial Assistance recipients to “understand the financial situation” of the scholarship program.

The SHEFA board recently decided to suspend temporarily the priority field of study and merit incentive awards.

“This is something that is beyond our control,” the mayor said, adding that not only those of SHEFA, but all government programs have been affected by the steep decline in government revenue due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

He noted that the annual SHEFA  funding of $3.5 million comes from  poker license renewal fees, but  poker  arcades and other gaming and amusement facilities have been shut down since April 1.

“So I hope our students will understand,” the mayor said. “It’s very lucky that we still have some funds for our scholarship.”

He said his office will continue to work with the Saipan and Northern Islands Legislative Delegation to continue funding SHEFA.

He noted that the delegation has already approved a bill to allocate $900,000 for the scholarship program.

In May, the SHEFA board suspended the $1,000 priority field of study awards for off-island and on-island students, and the $1,000 merit incentives for on-island students and $1,500 for off-island students.

 

November 2020 pssnewsletter

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