Alex Basco, acting provincial administrator, said the funds will go to the 208 scholars taking various degree and non-degree courses and the fourth batch of beneficiaries who will be covered by the program starting June.
Basco, also executive director of the program, said they opened the application for the prospective scholars last February 11 and will close on April 5. Qualified to apply are incoming freshmen college students and out-of-school- youths who must be at least 25 years old.
For school year 2008-2009, Basco said the provincial scholarship committee has amended some policies on the grade requirement, benefits and the choice of courses based on the examination result, to make the program more responsive to the needs of the times.
For the grade requirement, scholars must obtain 87 percent average, with no failing grade. The previous rule set an average of 87 percent but no grades should fall below 80
For the non-degree courses, the grade requirement has been set to 85 percent weighted average, with no failing grade.
Starting this year, non-degree scholars will receive a maximum benefit of P15,000 per semester from the previous P14,000.
For the degree courses, the Category A scholars or those coming from indigent families will still receive P27,000 per semester or allowance of P3,000 per month.
For the Category B or those coming from income brackets ranging from P75,000 to P150,000, scholars will retain their P16,000 benefit per semester.
Basco said that beginning this school year, they will utilize the result of the qualifying examination and the National College Assessment Examination of the admitted scholars to determine the courses they will be taking.
"All admitted scholars are encouraged to enroll in colleges and universities within the province. Those who wish to study outside of South Cotabato must be enrolled in state universities and colleges," he said.
To help expand the reach of the program, Basco said the committee has launched information drives in various public and private secondary schools in the province.
"This process is aimed at making the application to program easier for interested applicants. In the past, many students flock to our office just to get the application forms and the list of requirements and it was very costly and tedious for the students and parents, especially those coming from remote barangays and municipalities," he added. (Allen V. Estabillo / MindaNews)