The FSM Congress recently appropriated $20,000.00 to fund scholarships for students from the Northwest region of Chuuk State. This is by far the largest amount set aside to help students from the small and remote outer islands of Pattiw, Pafeng, and Namwonweito. But how do students from these islands apply for the scholarship? What’s the selection criteria? Is there a deadline?
I had a chance to meet briefly with Senator Otto during his recent trip to Hawaii with the FSM Congressional Chuuk delegation. As a doctoral student at UH Manoa, I needed to know how to access the scholarship funds.
What I learned disturbed me, but not surprising. Essentially, there is no application form or selection criteria. It’s not unusual for congressmen to control the scholarship funds. I offered to create an FSM Congressional Scholarship application for Northwest students to use and Senator Otto agreed. The selection criteria remains unclear, but at least there is a form that students can now use.
So, if you are from the Northwest region please download the FSM Congressional Scholarship application form, fill it out, get your college Financial Aid Office to certify it and send it to Senator Otto for his decision. For lack of a selection process, I recommend all who are currently enrolled in an accredited 2-year or 4-year institution college, or recently accepted to start in the coming academic year apply.
I would like to encourage Senator Otto and to do the right thing for the future generations of the Northwest. He needs to create a transparent, clear, and fair system of awarding scholarships for deserving students from the region.
Here’s my recommendations for Senator Otto and his successor:
- Standardize the application process by requiring that all applicants use the FSM Congressional Scholarship form.
- Create a fair, transparent, and clear selection criteria.
- Form a selection committee of fair-minded people to review and select finalists.
- Publish the list of recipients, the amount awarded, degrees sought, and name of the college or university attending.
- Partner with the Fanapi Foundation (www.fanapi.org) to provide additional student support systems for all the scholarship recipients to ensure their succeed in college.