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.

In 2012, the CNMI joined WICHE and became the first member of the US Pacific Territories and Freely Associated States membership. Guam joined in 2016. American Samoa, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, and the Republic of Palau are also eligible to join WICHE under the same membership.

WICHE Commissioners

*indicates Executive Committee member

* Frankie Eliptico

Vice President, Administration and Advancement, Northern Marianas College

Legislative Advisory Committee

Jude Hofschneider

Senator, Northern Marianas Commonwealth Legislature

Ralph N. Yumul

Representative, Northern Marianas Commonwealth Legislature


Provides strong return on investment



  • 104 CNMI residents of saved $1.3 million in 2019-20 through the Western Undergraduate Exchange (WUE) and the Western Regional Graduate Program (WRGP). These WICHE programs provide significant student savings on nonresident tuition at 170+ Western U.S. public colleges and universities.
  • In 2019-20 WICHE Student Access Programs provided the CNMI a 735 percent return on investment, relative to the state’s annual WICHE dues.
  • CNMI students and their families have saved $3.5 million since beginning to participating in WUE.

Bolsters the CNMI’s health workforce

  • WICHE’s Behavioral Health Program (BHP) is exploring the feasibility of developing a partnership with Guam and the CNMI to offer a psychology internship consortium.WICHE map showing student migration from the CNMI
  • The WICHE BHP worked with Northern Marianas College (NMC) and the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) to establish a 2+2 partnership to offer a pathway to a baccalaureate degree in social work (BSW). The first CNMI student matriculated in AY 2019-20. Two more students will matriculate in AY 2020-21. This partnership enables students to complete their general education core at NMC and complete their BSW through UAF.
  • Through the Professional Student Exchange Program (PSEP), students from the CNMI can enroll in participating programs in the WICHE region while receiving substantial tuition support. Currently, the CNMI supports students in the fields of dentistry, medicine (allopathic), occupational therapy, osteopathic medicine, pharmacy, physical therapy, physician assistant, and veterinary medicine.

Helps the CNMI allocate resources efficiently with data and policy analysis

  • WICHE offers various data and policy resources to support better-informed decision-making. WICHE’s research projects and collaborations cover postsecondary completion, closing attainment gaps, adult learners, and multistate data-sharing to support educational planning and workforce development.
  • WICHE staff serve as expert resources and provide technical assistance on finance, financial aid, articulation and transfer, strategic planning, student demographics, and more.
  • Our website features Benchmarks, an interactive dashboard featuring the most recent data available on the West’s progress in improving access to, success in, and the financing of higher education, as well as other useful resources.
  • WICHE’s quadrennial Knocking at the College Door report is the foremost U.S. resource for projections of college-ready students. There is an abundance of information on the Knocking website, including the publication and other reports, projections data, interactive data dashboards, recorded webinars, and presentations.

Fosters idea sharing

  • WICHE’s Legislative Advisory Committee provides valuable insights on trends and promising practices to the CNMI’s legislative leaders as they build partnerships with leaders in other Western states and territories.
  • Northern Marianas College is a member of WCET, the WICHE Cooperative for Educational Technologies, the leader in the practice, policy, and advocacy of technology-enhanced learning in higher education. WCET’s growing membership includes almost 400 institutions, higher education agencies and systems, nonprofit organizations, government agencies, and corporations in all U.S. states and several Canadian provinces. Through its Frontiers blog, convenings, and active online discussions, WCET keeps members informed of the latest in policy change, regulations, and trends in educational technology. WCET also offers a host of resources related to educational technology and faculty support including advice and guidance for institutions on how to transition their face-to-face offerings to emergency online alternatives and how to increase quality in these courses over time.
  • At the outset of the recent outbreak of COVID-19, WICHE quickly reacted, shifted to remote work, and continues to advance our mission. WICHE is facilitating peer-to-peer videoconferences for higher education leaders to connect and identify solutions to common challenges; following legislation passed in response to the crisis; and identifying how emergency funding for students and higher education institutions, as well as block grants to states, can be best used to support education in the West. The WICHE BHP is hosting webinars that offer guidance to support the mental well-being of their students, and WCET is providing updates and resources to help institutions address issues that arise due to the COVID-19 outbreak.