Important Deadlines


Fall 2024 Term:

  • Students may start applying online on July 1st, 2024.
  • The deadline to apply for SHEFA and submit all supporting documents is September 30th, 2024.  
  • ALL interested applicants (new, ongoing and returning) must apply/reapply.
  • SHEFA online application guide


Eligibility Requirements

In order to obtain funds through SHEFA, applicants must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents, be enrolled in or accepted at an institution of higher learning, Northern Marianas Trades Institute or recognized trade institution by the SHEFA board and be able to prove one-year residency on Saipan prior to application date. Applicants must also be full-time students and maintain a 2.5 cumulative grade point average (CGPA) for those pursuing an academic degree and a 2.0 cumulative -grade point average for those pursuing a trade/vocational certificates. Upon certification of eligibility, recipients are required to complete, sign, and notarize a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) which acknowledges their agreement to return to Saipan to provide services in either the public or private sector. Failure to adhere to the MOA should result in aid received being converted to an interest-bearing loan. SHEFA currently administers three types of financial assistance: Grant-in-Aid, Field of Study (priority fields) and Merit Incentive Award. Grant amounts vary by the type of financial assistance and whether the study is on Saipan or off-island. Maximum duration of eligibility for financial assistance per degree type: Less than 2 years -Trade/Vocational Certification, 2 Academic Years - Associate Degree, 4 Academic Years - Bachelors’ Degree, 2 Academic Years - Graduate Degree, 3 Academic Years - Advanced Degree.


Types of Financial Assistance

  1. Grant-in-aid: Type of financial assistance available to a student from Saipan pursuing their post-secondary education in a U.S. accredited college or university or trade certification at the Northern Marianas Trades Institute or recognized trade institution approved by the SHEFA Board.
    If a grant recipient does not return to Saipan after completion of his or her studies or non-enrollment, the grant automatically becomes a loan and the recipient must repay the SHEFA fund plus interest under the terms and conditions of the attached promissory note/memorandum of agreement.
  2. Priority Field of Study (temporarily suspended since fall 2020): When a student pursues a field of study that has been identified by SHEFA as a priority field of study for the island of Saipan and having met other established criteria. This award is granted only to Junior and Senior college-level students and those pursuing their Master's degree.
  3. Merit Incentive Award (temporarily suspended since fall 2020): Type of financial assistance that is based on academic performance (3.5 GPA) at the end of every term. Applicants in their first term of college are not eligible to receive the merit incentive award. Students taking remedial courses or developmental courses in fulfillment of full-time status are not eligible for the merit incentive award.


Award Amount Per Term

  • $600-Vocation/Trade Institutions
  • $800 – On-island and Online Institutions
  • $1200-Off-island Institutions
  • $2000-Advanced Degrees


Types Of Awards Per Enrollment Status

  • High School: Early Admission Program or 2+2 Program can avail to the Grant-In-Aid
  • Trades/Vocational School: Grant-In-Aid
  • Undergraduates: Grand-In-Aid, Priority Field of Awards, and Merit Incentive Awards
  • Masters Program: Grant-In-Aid, Priority Field of Awards, and Merit Incentive Awards
  • Advanced/Doctorate Programs: Grant-In-Aid



  • Student tracking and obtaining graduate data after students meet award duration.
  • Limited funding due to the CNMI's economic shortfall as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • Timely annual appropriation and release of funds.


2021 Budget Appropriation

  • Saipan Local Law 22-2: $1,200,000 ($950,000 for awards and $250,000 for personnel/operations)
  • Saipan Local Law 22-5: $100,000 (personnel/operations)


Operations Expense: $19,842.35

Personnel Expense: $140,336.49

Awards Expense: $1,422,700



  • In line with the Covid-19 Emergency Relief and Federal Student Aid, repayment/collections of student loans have been extended to May 1, 2022. This relief was approved by the Board since March 2020 and has been extended twice to help alleviate the stress students are facing with this pandemic.
  • Finalized and adopted changes to the regulations that would allow active duty in the armed forces of the United States to satisfy both the obligation to return to Saipan and work and the required service contribution to work in the private or public sector in Saipan imposed by the current regulations and contractual obligations binding all SHEFA recipients.
  • The Saipan Higher Education Financial Assistance Board has also adopted Board Resolution No. 2021-002, which requires new applicants to complete two years of post-secondary studies at Saipan-based educational institutions such as the Northern Marianas College and the Northern Marianas Technical Institute. This was implemented in the fall 2021 term. The limited resources available and the urgent need for an increased local workforce necessitate measures to conserve resources and focus on maximizing support to the widest student population and the most fundamental educational needs in support of the development of the on-island workforce.
  • In July 2021, the Board met with NMTI and shared our continued support of their vision and we look forward to the success of the program and their students. As of fall 2021, we are excited to report that the number of applicants and recipients have increased tremendously.
  • During these challenging times, the SHEFA board has forgiven the loans of students who returned to Saipan and worked for the number of years needed to complete their service obligation, despite not returning at the required time-frame agreed upon on the Memorandum of Agreement. The review of each student in default is an ongoing process. However, we hope to catch the number of returning students who completed their service obligation, so their loans can be forgiven too. To date, we have forgiven a total of $613,100.00.
  • 2021 SNILD Appropriations for SHEFA- Saipan Local Laws 22-2 and 22-5 passed and full amount has been allotted into our accounts.
  • In the process of creating a new SHEFA website that would provide for easier application and document processing, student portal, and up to date SHEFA news, employment and other financial aid opportunities.
  • SHEFA is the only local financial institution that provides grants to graduate and post-graduate or doctoral studies. We continue to provide timely award disbursements to applicants who meet all the requirements. The same can be said for the appeals/deferment and forbearance requests that continue to be addressed and resolved promptly. With the new Muniz Financial Management system in place, checks are being printed and disbursed earlier than they were in the previous years.
  • The SHEFA Office continues to maintain collaboration with both the public and private sector on how to assist recipients with internship referrals and/or job opportunities. For example, SHEFA has provided the CNMI Office of Personnel and Management a complete listing of all graduates to assist with possible current and upcoming job placements opportunities.
  • Reappointments of Oscar Babauta, Juan K. Tenorio, Raymond Muna and Kaelani Demapan and newly appointed board member Henry Kyle Hofscheider.
  • Completion of Muniz Training for all SHEFA employees
  • Completion of 2021 Citizen Centric Report available at or
  • Total collections of $510,010 ($92,027 for 2021 alone) despite temporary suspension of collections made by the SHEFA Board of Directors.


"Learning is the only thing the mind never exhausts.
Never fears. And never regrets."

-Leonardo Da Vinci


Financial Summary

Scroll the table left to right

3386-OPERATIONS $21,000
PERSONNEL $192,150
3359 (REVOLVING ACCOUNT) $439,320
7192U $0
7190W $200
7193Y $3700
Total available for remaining awards (as of 2/18/2022) $443,220


Award Breakdown By Term And Institution