Marianas Variety

Last updateTue, 10 Dec 2019 12am

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    Monday, December 9, 2019-12:04:58P.M.

     

     

     

     

     

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NMC baccalaureate degree program under ACCJC

NORTHERN Marianas College’s four-year degree program in elementary education will be under the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges.

Northern Marianas College President Sharon Y. Sharon, center, answers questions from news reporters during a press conference. Also in the photo are Board of Regents Chairman Juan T. Lizama, School of Education Director Charlotte Cepeda and education students Esco Hocog and Gina Mareham.  Photo by Junhan B. TodenoNorthern Marianas College President Sharon Y. Sharon, center, answers questions from news reporters during a press conference. Also in the photo are Board of Regents Chairman Juan T. Lizama, School of Education Director Charlotte Cepeda and education students Esco Hocog and Gina Mareham. Photo by Junhan B. Todeno
NMC is accredited by both ACCJC and the Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities, but the U.S. Department of Education has indicated that dual accreditation is not in accordance with its policy and is inconsistent with its higher education act, adding that NMC’s education students may lose their eligibility for federal Pell and TEACH grants.

But the department extended the Title IV funding for NMC’s baccalaureate program and also gave the college 18 months to settle on one accrediting body.

Yesterday, NMC President Sharon Y. Hart said ACCJC supported the college’s request to have NMC’s four-year degree program under the commission.

Last week, two teams from ACCJC visited NMC to look into the show-cause status of the college and its request to have its baccalaureate program placed under the accrediting commission.

Hart said NMC submitted a substantive-change report concerning its request to the commission for a four-year degree program accreditation.

“Quite often the substantive change can take up to a year to develop but we did all of this in about six weeks,” she added.

Hart said NMC is the first institution that has come to ACCJC with such a request.

In a letter, ACCJC vice president Susan B. Clifford told Hart that their committee on substantive change acted to approve the NMC proposal on Oct. 24.

Hart said many community colleges on the mainland U.S. offer a limited number of four-year programs.

With NMC as their model, she added, may community college may follow suit in getting their baccalaureate programs under ACCJC.

NMC Board of Regents Chairman Juan T. Lizama said the approval of their substantive-change report is very significant to the college.

“That’s speaks a lot for what the college is doing and how the college has shown itself to be one that has viability,” he added.

NMC School of Education Director Charlotte Cepeda said the approval of NMC’s proposal is wonderful news for faculty and students.

“We have very dedicated students who have amazing goals,” she added.

Gina Mareham, an NMC student who depends on Pell grants, said the announcement will continue to motivate them to move forward.

Another student, Esco Hocog, said: “We’re so happy that we’re going to continue getting federal financial aid.”