SVP Anita Enriquez: Press on with higher education
By Anita Borja Enriquez
As we emerge from the pandemic and work to put our island communities back on track, I know many prospective and current students are still grappling with what comes next. That’s why it’s so critical to engage in conversations about the importance of pursuing higher education heading into this new, but still uncertain, normal.
Now is the time for students to stay the course, invest in their future, and expand their opportunities for successful careers to benefit themselves and their families.
Past crises have shown that students flock to higher education during economic downturns. The COVID-19 pandemic has damaged economies and many job prospects along with it. In our region, tourism and other drivers have been sorely impacted. While each will recover, it will take time and it’s not clear how long.
Continuing on to college allows students to reimagine their potential, gain an edge in a tougher job market, and be better prepared with enhanced job security. It also presents an opportunity to choose a more desired field in a changed economy. COVID-19 underscored the need for more health care professionals at all levels as well as employees with technology-enhanced skills to manage organizations or work processes remotely.
Many students have been accepted to universities on the U.S. mainland. However, they may choose to delay off-island enrollment until they have increased assurance it is safer and easier to travel and be on campus.
In the meantime, these students have an option for a more readily accessible and economical way to stay the course with their higher education goal: pursuing general education courses and other transferable credits at the University of Guam. As a U.S. land grant institution accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission, UOG provides an inclusive, high-value, and quality option that has allowed students to enter and advance in a plethora of professions through studies in accounting, agriculture and life sciences, anthropology, biology, business administration, civil engineering, computer science, counseling, criminal justice, education, environmental science, fine arts (art and music), food and nutrition, health science, history, nursing, political science, psychology, public administration, social work, among others. And let’s not forget the fantastic mentoring opportunities by faculty and research mentors along with funded off-island student exchange and conferences.
One of the unintended consequences of the pandemic is that it motivated institutions to embrace online learning like never before — a trend unlikely to fade as the value of digital platforms continues to unfold.
UOG’s online tools continue to evolve as we improve the experience and implement new approaches. At the same time, we’ve added more online programs to our slate.
For students who prefer and thrive in that space — and for those living on our neighboring islands and adult learners — it opens up new opportunities. In addition to UOG’s online Professional Master of Business Administration and Master of Education in Reading and TESOL programs, students can now — for the first time through UOG — take online classes toward undergraduate and graduate degrees in all disciplines throughout the summer and can take a combination of online and in-person classes throughout the fanuchånan, or fall, semester.
We understand the pandemic has created hardships on our communities, and UOG intends to relieve some of that burden. Our UOG Cares initiative will bring tremendous savings to students beginning this summer with a reduction in fees of more than 60%. For the fanuchånan semester, fees will be reduced and UOG will apply a 5% rebate on tuition.
Students will also be able to save up to 70% on textbooks with digital versions through the UOG Triton Store next semester and on home internet through a special plan being offered to UOG students by Docomo Pacific and other providers. These and various other resources found at www.uog.edu/uog-cares are all part of the UOG Cares initiative to bring students relief while continuing their educational pursuits.
Together, through education, perseverance, and support, we’ll come out of this more resilient and prepared.
Anita Borja Enriquez, DBA, is the senior vice president and provost at the University of Guam overseeing academic and student affairs. Registration for UOG’s Fanuchånan 2020 (Aug. to Dec.) semester for admitted and returning students will be ongoing until July 12. The next deadline for admission is Nov. 20 for the Fañomnåkan (Jan. to May) 2021 semester. Visit www.uog.edu/admissions to apply.