Type of Programs

CSO strives to develop our workforce through college access programs available annually.  The programs are designed to promote college success and are heavily contingent upon the availability of funds appropriated by the legislature annually.  Award amounts vary and may or may not change throughout the academic year depending on the annual appropriation, annual applicants, and or the stability of our economy.  These funds are meant to assist the CNMI scholars to defray the cost of their higher education.  Scholars are encouraged to apply for various other financial assistance to help cover the entire cost of their education.  Because these funds are annually appropriated, no scholarship, loan, or grant will be processed or disbursed before Oct 1st (beginning of the fiscal year).

It is crucial when completing the eApplication that the applicant reviews the programs and what best fits their needs.  This will prevent delays in the eligibility review and may even prompt a denial for selecting the wrong type of program.

The following programs are what is available for any eligible Northern Mariana Islands residents enrolled in academic year 2020-21:

High School Program:

Commonwealth College Access Grant (CCAG) is for eligible high school students in their junior or senior year and are enrolled in the dual Enrollment Program or Early Enrollment Program at the Northern Marianas College.  

Undergraduate Programs:

Educational Assistance Program Base (EAP Base Grant) is for eligible CNMI residence enrolled fulltime and meet the requirements pursuing an undergraduate degree or a trade/vocational certificate.

Marianas Employees Financial Aid (MEFA) is for full-time employees within the Commonwealth who are pursuing an undergraduate degree and are enrolled part-time at NMC or a qualified online program.  Proof of full-time employment is required. 

WICHE Western Undergraduate Exchange (WUE) Program allows CNMI resident students to pay no more than 150% of in-state tuition at participating schools.

Nursing School Scholarship (NSS) is a special scholarship available for nursing students pursuing an associate degree at NMC or accredited off-island institution.  Applicant must be able to produce an acceptance letter into the nursing program at their institution.

The following are add-on aid for EAP Base Grant and MEFA:

Priority Field of Study (PFoS) is additional support for fulltime students given on top of EAP Base for eligible applicants who have declared a major in the pre-selected priority fields approved by the CSO Board of Directors.  MEFA recipients will be prorated for this award based on their EAP Base award.  

Bachelor Program is additional support for EAP Base for those majoring in a bachelor program to help defray the higher cost of tuition.   

Incentive Award is additional support highlighting Complete College America’s Game Changer of 15 TO FINISH for students who are enrolled in 15 credits or more per term, have a last term GPA of 3.5 or higher, major in a priority field of study and are either Juniors or Seniors.   

Trade School Program:

Vocational and Trade Aid (VocAid) is given specifically to eligible resident pursuing a trade/vocational certificate at an institution within the Commonwealth or at any institution in the United States or its territories.   

Graduate & Postgraduate Programs:

Graduate School Student Loan (GSSL) is student loan available for eligible CNMI residence pursuing their graduate/post graduate studies within or outside of the Commonwealth or eligible online program. 

WICHE Western Regional Undergraduate Program (WRGP)  allows master’s, graduate certificate, and doctoral students who are residents of the CNMI to enroll in more than 400 high-quality programs at 60 public institutions outside of their home state and pay resident tuition.

WICHE Professional Student Exchange Program (PSEP) is Support Fee (tuition) for students pursing a professional degree in the following fields:


Last Updated 6/9/2022