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Affordable medical degree within reach

Updated: Apr 26




Measure leverages new WICHE tuition benefit


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

April 25, 2024


Vice Speaker Tina Muña Barnes has introduced a proposal to help local residents, beginning in the upcoming academic semester, attend medical school at a more affordable tuition rate.


Bill No. 284-37 (LS) leverages Guam’s membership in the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education to officially begin the island’s participation in its Professional Student Exchange Program (PSEP). Much like financial assistance WICHE offers for undergraduate and graduate degrees, those enrolled in PSEP enjoy substantial savings - between $35,700 to $139,800 over the duration of a health degree study, according to the organization - when enrolled in participating colleges and universities.


“Many on our island want to be involved in the important and understaffed health care sector - but unaffordable tuition for out-of-state students can render this noble dream impossible,” the Vice Speaker stated. “But in exchange for a local investment into this amazing higher education benefit, our government can bring these well-paid jobs within reach for generations of Gumanians.”


Nine students from Guam have already qualified to begin their participation in PSEP, and Bill No. 284-37 (LS) appropriates $966,925 to the Guam Community College as the first round of local investment into the program. The legislation has received bipartisan support, with Senators Joe San Agustin, Roy Quinata, Frank Blas Jr., Christopher Duenas, and Jesse Lujan signed on as co-sponsors. 


In the 2023-2024 academic year, Guam’s students saved more than $1.5 million through undergraduate and graduate tuition programs offered through WICHE.


“With out-of-state tuition for some health care programs often exceeding resident tuition by over 300 percent, this can be daunting for tomorrow’s health professionals. It may saddle them in debt, force them to leave their community for more lucrative opportunities, or discourage them from pursuing a passion to heal,” the commission has stated about the real-world concerns addressed through PSEP.


The WICHE program, administered on Guam by GCC, is open to local students seeking degrees for ten fields and occupations in the health care industry: dentistry, allopathic medicine, occupational therapy, optometry, osteopathic medicine, pharmacy, physical therapy, physician assistant, podiatry, and veterinary medicine.


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For more information, or to schedule an interview, please contact Phill Leon Guerrero at 671.480.5033.

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