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MAJURO, Marshall Islands (June 16, 2000 - Marshall Islands Journal)---Of the 800 Marshallese students who have received RMI (Republic of the Marshall Islands) scholarship aid since 1986, just over 200 have gained degrees, according to Scholarship Board member Ben Graham.

"It’s not a good ratio," he said, adding that of concern to the Scholarship Board is getting repayment of loans from students who didn’t complete their courses.

Reporting on scholarship developments to the Chamber of Commerce last week, Graham said that a complete report on the more than 800 students who have received scholarship assistance since the beginning of the Compact of Free Association 14 years ago is in the final stages of preparation. It will be used to help the RMI Scholarship, Grant and Loan Board to recover funds lent to students who didn’t complete their studies, he indicated.

"Several million dollars was given to students who didn’t complete their studies," Graham said.

The scholarship program has a policy that requires students to complete their studies and return home to work in government in order for the student aid to be considered a scholarship and not a loan that needs to be paid back.

It is only recently that the RMI Scholarship Board has taken steps to enforce repayment of loans by students who didn’t fulfill financial requirements. Graham indicated that the board was moving forward in an effort to collect from these former recipients of RMI student aid so that the money would be available for future students.

The Marshall Islands Journal, Box 14, Majuro, Marshall Islands 96960 E-mail:  Subscriptions (weekly): 1 year US $87.00; international $213.00 (air mail).

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