In order to address issues and identify areas of improvement, the Guam Department of Education met with representatives from several Micronesian student organizations.
During their second meeting this year, representatives from multiple high school Micronesian student associations met with GDOE to discuss shortfalls within the education system.
According to an assessment from the FSM Consulate, more students from their island nations were taking advantage of financial aid and going to college on Guam rather than Micronesian students who were already on Guam.
GDOE Superintendent Jon Fernandez says that many of the students cited hindrances to access to higher education, including dealing with financial aid and college application forms that are only in English.
“The kids were telling us that they would fill everything out and they’d get to the section ‘What is your parents’ income?’ That was one of the issues. How do I tell my parents that I need this information? How do my parents go to their employers to get the information? Are employers being cooperative in giving that information?” Fernandez said.
These accessibility issues become increasingly important, given that Sen. Amanda Shelton’s Bill 225-35 aims to require all public high school seniors to apply and fill out the free application for federal student aid.
To combat this, Fernandez says that the department is considering getting high school students in touch with those attending college.
“Since they have more recent experience in the application process, they can give them some easy and quick guidance to overcome those obstacles,” Fernandez said.
GDOE will be working with the FSM Consulate to provide access to scholarships that students may be eligible for.