Guam residents currently pursuing a professional medical degree, or accepted into a professional medical degree program within one of the 60 Western Interstate Commission of Higher Education (WICHE) cooperating programs, now can apply for funding support at guamcc.edu/PSEP.
“Thanks to the Biråda Act, we are now able to support Guam’s medical students with the high cost of medical school, and also assure that they can come back on-island to fill critical gaps in our healthcare services,” GCC’s President, Dr. Mary Okada, said. “GCC’s role is to secure funding and facilitate the WICHE application process for these students. As always, GCC rises to meet the needs in our community, and we will put that same focus into this process.”
WICHE is a regional compact of 15 western states and the CNMI, Guam, Republic of the Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia and the Republic of Palau. WICHE is charged with helping residents of participating states and territories address higher education and workforce issues distinct to the region.
“Extending the benefits of PSEP to Guam’s medical students will prove to be a crucial part of addressing workforce issues,” said WICHE President Demarée Michelau. “We’ve seen how PSEP and our other Student Access Programs are able to help students and their families pursue their educational and career goals, and this brings the residents of Guam one step closer to those opportunities.”
Guam is participating in WICHE’s Professional Student Exchange Program (PSEP) to assist students pursuing a career in designated health fields to enroll in participating programs within the WICHE region, and to receive substantial tuition support from Guam. Participating students can save $34,100 to $133,600 over the course of their health degree study. Guam WICHE participants must commit to returning to Guam to practice in their chosen field in health care.
Interested Guam applicants can apply for PSEP funding in five healthcare fields: Allopathic Medicine (MD), Occupational Therapy (MOT, OTD), Osteopathic Medicine (DO), Pharmacy (PharmD) and Physical Therapy (DPT).
Guam Attorney Rodney Jacob serves as Guam’s WICHE Commissioner. Vice Speaker Tina Muna Barnes and Senator Amanda Shelton are members of the WICHE Legislative Advisory Committee. “This is big. The Professional Student Exchange Program, or PSEP, tackles the obstacles of the high cost of tuition for professional healthcare degrees and incentivizes our kids to come back home to Guam and serve our communities’ healthcare needs,” according to WICHE Commissioner Jacob. “WICHE’s PSEP will allow Guam to invest in the very people who will run our healthcare systems in the future.”
Public Law P.L. 36-88, the Biråda Act, introduced by Vice Speaker Tina Muña Barnes and signed into law by Governor Lourdes Leon Guerrero in April 2022, designates Guam Community College (GCC) as the administrative officer for the Guam WICHE PSEP program and to establish the Scholarship Office, which would determine students’ eligibility for PSEP funding and manage the scholarship application process the all applicants from Guam. The WICHE PSEP office will also work with I Liheslaturan Guåhan, community partners, and governmental stakeholders to fund the per-student annual fee for a professional health education.