WASHINGTON (U.S. Interior Department) — The U.S. Department of the Interior’s Office of Insular Affairs has provided $1,499,100 in fiscal year 2021 Technical Assistance Program grant funding to two civic engagement and education programs for insular areas students. One million dollars has been announced for the Close-Up Foundation and $499,100 has been awarded to the Junior State Foundation. 

“Every year Congress provides this important support so that the students from the insular areas may participate in the Close-Up and Junior State civic education programs along with students from the other fifty states in the United States,” said Nikolao Pula, acting assistant secretary for insular and international affairs.

For the past thirty years, Interior has supported over 10,000 students and educators from the U.S. territories of American Samoa, Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and the U.S. Virgin Islands and from the freely associated states which are the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, and the Republic of Palau. This funding will provide opportunities for students and teachers from the insular areas to participate in Close Up’s in-person programs, including both local summits and the Washington, D.C.-based programs for academic year 2021-2022. The civic education opportunities designed for insular area youth creates opportunities for promoting efficient and effective governance.

The Junior State Foundation will support four students from each of the seven insular areas to participate in 3-week programs at Stanford and Georgetown Universities, providing a rigorous summer college-preparatory experience and academic boot camp. During these summer programs, students are assigned to develop a community action project in their home islands. 

On July 19, 2021, Interior also announced grant funding to fund membership fees for the Insular Areas in the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education which makes students from the territories and the freely associated states eligible for in-state tuition rates at select schools in the western United States.

Information about the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Office of Insular Affairs and funding assistance for the insular areas can be found at www.doi.gov/oia

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