Most of American Samoa’s high school graduates enjoy the privilege of qualifying for the Pell Grant, which covers most if not all of the cost of them earning a Bachelors's degree in college. However, students born outside of the US and its territories often face a tremendous financial burden trying to further their education after high school, since most colleges charge a higher tuition rate for those who do not meet residency requirements. To assist students in need, the American Samoa Community College (ASCC) offers two in-house scholarships each semester to students who do not qualify for the Pell Grant, or otherwise find themselves in need, the Saili le Atamai and Presidential Merit scholarships.
Funded by the Student Government Association and intended for students who do not qualify for any form of federal aid, criteria for the Saili le Atamai Scholarship includes maintaining a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.00, having already completed at least 12 credits or more, attending the College full-time, and being committed to earning a specific Associate Degree or Certificate of Proficiency. The ASCC Division of Student Services has announced the recipients of the fall 2018 Saili le Atamai Scholarship as Mr. Mark Espiritu and Ms. Jean Paula Eseo.
Born in the Philippines, Mr. Espiritu graduated from Faasao/Marist High School in 2017. A Nursing major, he currently works two off-campus jobs to pay his own college tuition. “I have always aspired to be a Registered Nurse,” he said, “and the scholarship will be a huge help to both me and my family.” Ms. Eseo, also born in the Philippines and also a Nursing major, is a 2017 graduate of South Pacific Academy. One of the goals she seeks to fulfill by earning her degree is to give back to her parents for their support in sending her to College. While in high school Ms. Eseo took part in community service projects through organizations such as the Junior State of America and the Junior Rotary Club.
The Presidential Merit Scholarship of $500 is open for application by all ASCC students regardless of their qualification for the Pell grant. Applicants must have completed 24 credits and maintained a grade point average of 3.60 or higher. This semester Presidential Merit Scholarships will go to Ms. Jingjing Jiang and Ms. Elysha Samatua. A Chinese citizen who intends to graduate this semester with a degree in Accounting, Ms. Jiang has demonstrated her commitment to her education through her membership in campus organizations the Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) honor society, and the Business Ambassadors of ASCC (BAOA). She has also performed community service such as serving as assisting members of the public with filing their taxes. Born in Australia and still a citizen of that country, Ms. Samatua graduated from Iakina Academy and now carries a double major of Accounting and Business Management. Like Ms. Jiang, Ms. Samatua also belongs to both the PTK and BAOA, and she has participated in numerous community service projects through high school and ASCC, and with her church.
ASCC Dean of Student Services Dr. Emilia Le’i congratulated this semester’s In-House Scholarship recipients and encouraged all students in financial need to learn more about and apply for the In-House Scholarships. “We seek to serve all students who are serious about their education,” she said. “Occasionally, issues of nationality or extenuating circumstances place some students at a disadvantage, but some assistance is available for those who demonstrate their commitment to their education and also to serving the community.”
For more information on ASCC, visit the College’s web page at www.amsamoa.edu.