THE available slots for the Commission on Higher Education (Ched) 7’s merit-based scholarship programs for incoming college freshmen for academic year (AY) 2021-2022 have decreased from 2,491 slots in AY 2019-2020 to just 612 slots for AY 2021-2022.
However, the amount of the financial assistance for the would-be Ched merit-based scholars for this academic year has doubled according to Melissa Castillote, Ched 7 education supervisor II and Student Financial Assistance Programs (StuFAPs) coordinator.
Castillote said they opened the application for the scholarship on July 9, 2021, after a year of hiatus because of the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.
As of Wednesday morning, she said they have received about 3,100 applications regionwide.
Though they have no confirmed reason yet from their central office regarding the decrease in merit-based scholarship slots for each region, Ched 7 Director Maximo Aljibe said this could be because of other available scholarships under the Unified Financial Assistance System for Tertiary Education Act.
“That’s referring to merit scholarships which are highly competitive. The reason could be also because of the now free higher education law, TES (Tertiary Education Subsidy), Tulong Dunong (program),” he told SunStar Cebu.
Castillote, however, said they have yet to receive the revised circular for the list of priority courses or degree programs for the scholarship.
Under the Ched memorandum order (CMO) No. 11 series of 2021, qualified students may be awarded Full or Half Private Education Student Financial Assistance (Pesfa), for those enrolled in private universities and colleges, or Full or Half State Scholarship for those enrolled in local universities and colleges (LUCs) or state universities and colleges (SUCs).
Castillote said the financial assistance for Full Pesfa scholars is P60,000 per semester, from only P30,000 per semester for the previous AYs, while Half Pesfa scholars will now receive P30,000 financial assistance from only P15,000 per semester before.
For the Full State Scholarship Program (SSP), which is intended for students enrolled in SUCs or LUCs, scholars are entitled to a P40,000 assistance (previously P20,000) per semester while Half SSP scholars are entitled to P20,000 financial assistance (from only P10,000) per semester.
Under the CMO, the Ched scholarship programs are intended for entering first year students who are eligible for college and whose general weighted average (GWA) is at least 96 percent or its equivalent for full merit program and 93 to 95 percent GWA or its equivalent for half-merit program.
Ched said the availability of the type of scholarships is determined through ranking and availability of slots.
The combined annual gross income of parents or guardians of the students should also not exceed P400,000.
The requirements include the certified true copy of one’s birth certificate, report card, 2×2-inch colored photo and any of the following: latest Income Tax Return of parents or guardians, certificate of tax exemption from the Bureau of Internal Revenue, certificate of indigency, case study from the Department of Social Welfare and Development or latest copy of contract or proof of income for children of overseas Filipino workers and seafarers.
Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, the application is conducted online through its official website and the instructions on Ched 7’s official Facebook page. The application is until Aug. 15, 2021. (WBS)