Ambitious Micronesians awarded private tuition scholarships

(Colonia, Yap) A dozen students from across Micronesia will enroll in prestigious private schools this fall with the help of Habele tuition scholarships. Attendance at these schools radically increases the children’s’ chances of completing school and moving on to higher education.

The investment isn’t coming from a top-down government aid program or an influence peddling foreign conglomerate, it arrives care of Habele, a tiny all-volunteer charity funded entirely by individual Americans with a personal commitment to Micronesia.

The students, whose families come from isolated islands and atolls throughout Yap and Chuuk States, have been awarded tuition assistance covering 50 to 100 percent of the cost of their 2016-17 enrollment. They will be attending top ranked independent K-12 schools on the islands of Yap, Chuuk and Pohnpei. Most will live with relatives or sponsors for the length of the school year.

Picturesque and strategically located, the far-flung islands of the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) struggle with isolation and limited natural resources. For decades, the crudely named “Office of Insular Affairs” at the US Department of the Interior has managed huge government-to-government payments to Micronesia, making the FSM the world’s largest per capita recipient of US foreign aid. That OIA controlled money has translated into neither broad educational access, nor measured educational accomplishment for most Micronesian students. The void represents a staggering need for privately funded efforts such as Habele's.

Since 2006, Habele has provided over $68,000 in tuition assistance, funding individual students, not districts or schools. It has also sent thousand of boxes of donated books for public school libraries and provisioned after school and extracurricular programs with specialty tools and equipment.

Established by former Peace Corps volunteers, Habele is a US based nonprofit, advancing educational access and accomplishment in Micronesian communities. In addition to tuition scholarships and student exchange programs, Habele supports innovative student mentorship programs, hands-on STEM instruction, and youth athletic leagues.