CHED-12 targeting 9,000 scholars among poor

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 2 April) – The Commission on Higher Education (CHED) in Region 12 is targeting to enlist around 9,000 “poor but deserving” students in the region this year into various government-funded scholarship programs.

Dr. Maximo Aljibe, CHED Region 12 director, said Wednesday such number was based on the scholarship slots allotted by CHED central office to the region for the upcoming school year 2014-2015 under its enhanced Student Financial Assistance Programs (StuFAPs).

“These cover our expanded merit scholarships, grants-in-aid and the study now, pay later scheme,” the official said.

Aljibe cited that students may avail of full and partial scholarship grants through the State Scholarship Program (SSP) and the Private Education Student Financial Assistance (PESFA) program.

Under the SSP, he said high school graduates and graduating students with general weighted average (GWA) of 85 to 90 percent could qualify for financial grants of P15,000 to P30,000 per academic year.

PESFA offers partial scholarship grants of P15,000 a year for qualified students with a GWA of at least 85 percent, he said.

The official said that under the grant-in-aid or “Tulong Dunong” program, current and incoming college students may avail of tuition grants of P6,000 to P12,000 per year.

For the “study now, pay later” program, he said students may qualify for a financial assistance of P15,000 per academic year.

Aljibe said the priority study programs for the scholarship grants are information technology, teacher education, science and math, engineering, health sciences, arts and humanities, social and behavioral sciences, business administration and related courses, communication, criminology, maritime and architecture.

Aside from the regular scholarship programs, he said the region received additional scholarship slots this year to accommodate students who were previously recipients of scholarship programs funded by the abolished Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) of members of the House of Representatives.

Aljibe earlier said that the allotment of the additional scholarship slots was an offshoot of the national government’s earlier decision to delegate the implementation and screening of prospective scholars to CHED.

“Scholarship slots allocated for congressmen in the region under their PDAF before will be apportioned in the entire region starting this year,” he said.

The official assured that the determination or identification of scholars will be done “fair and square” to ensure that only poor and deserving incoming college students will benefit from the program.

He said they have created a regional scholarship screening committee to spearhead the selection of the government scholars.

Aljibe said the process will be based on the enhanced guidelines for the implementation of student financial assistance program formulated by the agency.

The enhanced guidelines mainly aims to improve the delivery of scholarships, grant-in-aids and student loans, he said.