THE Commission on Higher Education (Ched) 7 paid about P113 million for its 11,599 ongoing college and university scholars and grantees in Central Visayas for the first semester of academic year (A.Y.) 2020-2021.
Melissa Castillote, Ched education supervisor II and Student Financial Assistance Programs (StuFAPs) coordinator, said Ched 7 paid a total of P112,994,826.37 based on the payroll processed as of May 15, 2021 under various types of StuFAPs including scholarships, grants-in-aids, other StuFAPs such as the Sida Scholarships program and other grants like Ched Tulong-Dunong Program (TDP) and the one-time financial assistance under the Bayanihan 2 Higher Education Tulong Program (B2 Help).
Of the 2,107 Ched scholarship grantees, 1,782 are students from Cebu, 177 are from Bohol, 136 from Negros Oriental and 10 from Siquijor.
Eighty-two of the 105 grants-in-aid grantees are from Cebu, 16 are from Bohol, seven from Negros Oriental and none from Siquijor.
Only 14 students from Cebu and 10 students from Negros Oriental are grantees of other StuFAPs and the rest are grantees of either the one-time B2 Help or the Ched TDP and were then endorsed to the scholarships under the Unified Student Financial Assistance System for Tertiary Education (UniFAST) Act after being a TDP grantee for an academic year.
Castillote, however, said they are still awaiting the memorandum from their central office pertaining to the call for applications for these programs from incoming college freshmen students.
Likewise, she said, they are also awaiting advice from the Ched central office regarding the call for application for Ched’s merit-based scholarship program.
In May 2020, Ched temporarily suspended the application for a new batch of scholars under the merit-based programs and prioritized the need-based programs, in support of the government’s effort in responding to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Sad to say, we did not receive yet a memorandum from central office regarding the call for application for Ched merit-based scholarship program, but definitely there is. It is not late yet because most, and I think, all HEIs (higher education institutions) in the region will be opening their classes in August,” Castillote said.
However, aside from Ched scholarship programs, incoming college students can automatically avail themselves of the free higher education (FHE) program under UniFAST should they opt to enroll in local or state universities and colleges (LUCs or SUCs).
Bong Marollano, UniFAST coordinator, said aside from the FHE, students can also avail themselves of the tertiary education subsidy (TES), and the free technical vocational education and training student loan program implemented by the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority.
He said students enrolled either in public or private schools can avail themselves of the TES.
However, due to limited allocation for the program, they are implementing a prioritization scheme prioritizing students under the Expanded Students’ Grants-in-Aid Program for Poverty Alleviation of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and the Department of Budget and Management, that is not funded now; those enrolled in private higher education institutions in municipalities or cities without the presence of SUCs or LUCs; those in the “Listahanan” poor of the DSWD; and those poorest of the poor who are not included in the first three priority groups.
Marollano said under TES, students enrolled in SUCs or LUCs, who are enjoying free tuition and other school fees, receive P20,000 per semester or P40,000 subsidy per year while those enrolled in private colleges and universities receive a subsidy of P30,000 per semester or P60,000 a year. (WBS)