Guam students could get local tuition off-island - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Guam students could get local tuition off-island

by Krystal Paco

Guam - Imagine attending an off-island university for the price of a resident student. Guam students looking to get their degree at an off-island university could soon reap thousands of dollars in savings if lawmakers act fast on Resolution 234 introduced earlier today by Senator Brant McCreadie.

"It's a program that cuts the tuition in half for our graduates of Guam," he said. "CNMI has already participated in it so they're seeing the fruits of the labor so now that we found out we're a part of this, I thought it was very important not just for the office but our governor and the CNMI governor to work together to develop this so our kids can get a higher education at a lower cost."

Specifically, the resolution would show GovGuam's support of the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education. "In order for us to move forward with this program, the legislature's going to have to approve it so this morning we introduced a resolution and what that resolution does it allows us to start the process of cutting some college tuitions in half," he said.

Already 15-states participate in WICHE...that's 150 schools and 400 programs...both undergrad and graduate as well as online degrees. McCreadie said, "Take for instance the University of Hawaii - it costs about $28,000 per year for a non-resident. Residents cost $9,000. With this WICHE program you would pay about $14,000, so you pay no more than 150% of the resident tuition - that's a cost savings right there."

But how soon could Guam students see savings? As early as the upcoming fiscal year just six days away.  "According to our conversations with WICHE this morning in Colorado they will extend their offer to us of membership starting October 1 for the next fiscal year," he said.

As the 16th member of WICHE, Guam would join the CNMI and split the annual buy-in of $135,000 per state, what McCreadie estimates is an investment that could pay for the savings of four Guam students attending the University of Hawaii. "Hopefully high school graduates on Guam will be afforded this type of program and boy, the sky's the limit when the bottom line is being able to afford college," he said.

A public hearing on Resolution 234 has yet to be scheduled but already Governor Eddie Calvo and CNMI's Governor Inos have rallied their support for Guam's participation in the program.

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