The University of Guam’s top scholarship official told senators in a May budget hearing that an additional $500,000 was needed so UOG could afford its scholarship programs; and senators increased the scholarship budget accordingly. Despite this assertion to senators, that same official – financial aid director Mark Duarte – emailed Regent Scholarship recipients last month telling them there is not enough money to continue funding their college education.
Mr. Duarte, in May 17, 2021 testimony before the Guam Legislature, told senators that of the $3 million UOG received from its annual appropriation, the Regent Scholarship was among those funded. He went on to tell senators additional funding was needed to fund the Pro-Tech scholarship, and that scholarships for social workers, portions of the Yamashita Educator Corps, and the UOG Retention and Completion program, were not being funded. Senators responded by increasing funding to UOG for scholarships.
“At the time, we were informed by UOG that while they were not funding the ProTech scholarships which the Vice Speaker had advocated for, the Regent scholarships and the Merit Scholarships were being prioritized,” Vice Speaker Tina Muna Barnes’s senior aide, Chirag Bhojwani, told Kandit. “We will continue to look further into the matter and the budget bill, as well as look for ways to fill the void that need to be the appropriate route.”
The scholarship funding cut happened against the backdrop of a combined $2.2 million pay raise UOG’s administrators, including Duarte, paid themselves. The pay raises, as Kandit has reported, has increased the average annual pay of 50 out of 52 UOG managers by nearly $45,000 or a 50 percent jump in pay during the pandemic.
To place the pay raise into perspective, the combined budget for UOG scholarships in the Fiscal Year 2022 budget is $3,815,285. That is a fraction of the $6,840,727 taxpayers fork out to pay the base salaries of UOG’s managers. Even one-quarter the cost of the pay raises could save the Regent Scholarship, which is slated to be cut in the upcoming semester.
01/02/2022 at 9:05 AM
The administration of the University of Guam has failed the students. As the president of the 52nd Student Government, myself along with a few of the officers advocated for adequate funding for every student organization throughout our term (August 2013- May 2014). We used our fiscal budget of $250,000. We prioritized the funding of every student organization, and in addition we introduced a few a more new organizations which we welcomed by giving these new organizations like the Blue Key Honor Society and Mathematics and Computer Science (MACS) $2,500 development fund. I was so grateful to be the president of the Blue Key Honor Society in 2014 and a member of the Public Administration and Legal Studies (PALS) organization.
Leadership is about the passion to be committed to honest, transparent and fair leadership. We do not always get everything right. We do not always make the best decision for all everyone. However we always make the hardest decisions. The decision to assure that every student is reinvested with the funding of all student organizations and to invest in new ones that will develop our full God given potentials. Students FIRST!