Since 2012, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) has partnered with and benefited from WICHE through regional collaboration, resource-sharing, sound public policy, and innovation.


Download the factsheet for CNMI here.




by CNMI students through WICHE Student Access Programs


through WUE


through WRGP


through PSEP

WICHE’s Student Access Programs

WICHE operates three Student Access Programs that together saved students $613 million in 2023-24. Each program supports students at each level of postsecondary education: undergraduate, graduate, and professional healthcare studies.

  • Students gain from increased choice and savings.
  • Schools gain by optimizing enrollments.
  • States and Pacific Island members gain by growing the skills of those they serve and strengthening their workforce.

Improving Lives in CNMI

WICHE works collaboratively to expand educational access and excellence for all residents of the West. By promoting innovation, cooperation, resource sharing, and sound public policy, WICHE strengthens higher education’s contributions to the region’s social, economic, and civic life. Learn more about our mission.

Our partnership in the region is thanks in part to substantial collaboration and leadership, as well as a grant from the U.S. Department of Interior, Office of Insular Affairs, which was renewed for a second consecutive year in 2022 to cover WICHE’s annual dues. WICHE’s Pacific Islands membership includes the CNMI, Guam, the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the Republic of Palau, and American Samoa.

WICHE brings together senior academic leaders to foster dialogue about issues facing individual institutions through its leadership and professional development networks.



WESTERN ACADEMIC LEADERSHIP ACADEMY is a yearlong professional development program for academic leaders aspiring to become chief academic officers in the WICHE region.

Thanks to collaboration with the Midwestern Higher Education Compact (MHEC), one of four U.S. regional higher education compacts, WICHE-region educational institutions, nonprofits, and public education entities can benefit from three programs: MHECtech, which provides competitively bid purchasing contracts for an array= of hardware, software, and technology services; MHECare, which provides a student health insurance plan and teletherapy services; and a MHEC Cyber Insurance Program, which offers risk transfer and advisory solutions. Learn more.

NO HOLDING BACK In 2022-23, 12 WICHE institutions analyzed data, policies, and practices to make improvements to how it used holds on registration or transcripts, and
contributed to the development of tools for other institutions to undertake this work.

WICHE Behavioral Health Program (BHP) administers the RURAL COMMUNITIES OPIOID RESPONSE PROGRAM (RCORP), a multiyear initiative supported by the Health
Resources & Services Administration to identify treatment barriers and best practices for preventing and treating substance use disorder. BHP provides technical assistance to 76 grantees across the U.S., supporting 36 grantees in the WICHE region.

HELPING OUR COMMUNITIES In 2014, WICHE helped the CNMI identify a significant shortage of social workers as part of a needs assessment of its Child and Family System of Care Grant. The only degree option available at the time required students to leave the CNMI which, for many, was cost prohibitive. In response, WICHE established a partnership between Northern Marianas College (NMC) and the University of Alaska-Fairbanks (UAF) to enable CNMI students to earn a Bachelor of Social Work degree. Through this program, students complete their first two years of study at NMC and then complete the upper-division study virtually through UAF. The UAF program was developed to serve students in remote Alaska villages and is specifically designed around Indigenous and rural/remote students and culture, making this unique program especially attractive to students from the Pacific region. Five students have graduated since 2022, and nine students are currently enrolled.

WICHE staff continue to work with federal partners to ensure federal policy recognizes and accounts for the unique nature of the Pacific region.

Knocking at the College Door is the leading U.S. resource for projections of college-ready students. Knocking, which includes a quadrennial publication with additional analysis, is essential for postsecondary policymakers, planning and workforce efforts, and economic development.

WICHE offers curated data and policy resources to support better-informed decision-making:

WCET – The WICHE Cooperative for Education Technologies is the leader in practice, policy, and advocacy of technology-enhanced learning in higher education. Northern Marianas College is a member.

WICHE has convened the OERWEST NETWORK, which is part of a nationwide collaborative to scale the development and adoption of free course materials. Open educational
resources (OER) have shown promise in improving student outcomes, particularly for poverty-affected students, for whom the high cost of textbooks can be a barrier to postsecondary success.

WICHE Commissioners

*indicates Executive Committee member

* Frankie Eliptico

Representing CNMI, Vice President, Administration and Advancement, Northern Marianas College

Rodney Jacob

Representing Guam, Attorney, Partner, Calvo Fisher & Jacob LLP

Kalani Kaneko

Minister of Foreign Affairs and Senator, Majuro Atoll, Republic of the Marshall Islands

Legislative Advisory Committee

Manny Gregory Castro

Representative, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands

Kalani Kaneko

Minister of Foreign Affairs and Senator, Majuro Atoll, Republic of the Marshall Islands

Tina Rose Muña Barnes

Senator, Guam Legislature

Amanda Shelton

Senator, Guam Legislature