Education commission expands grants to students

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Tuesday, April 22, 2014


THE Commission on Higher Education in Northern Mindanao (Ched) has offered more slots for Student Financial Assistance Programs (StuFAP) recipients and priority courses grantees can choose to enroll in any private and public tertiary schools starting this coming academic year.

Dr. Arlita Amapola Minguez, Ched regional educational supervisor and scholarship coordinator, said the expansion was sourced from the added funds allocated to Ched from the abolished Priority Development Assistance Fund (Pdaf) that has been redirected to various government agencies.

After the abolition, Ched made revisions for the StuFAP guidelines and formally introduced the expansion last February.

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“Normally, we accept Ched scholars by January, but we waited for the Ched guidelines which came out on February,” Minguez said.

“Now, we’ve accepted around 6,000 applicants but we’re still accepting more,” she added.

Ched has been going around barangays, high schools, council meetings, and coordinating with local government units to promote the grant and lure more students to apply.

The deadline of the scholarship application is on April 30, 2014.

“Before, we ask for a share [from the] PDAF. We used to ask congressmen to help us. Noon ay conjoint lang kami ng PDAF nila,” said Dr. Zenaida G. Gersana, Ched regional director. “Ngayon, sa amin na dinadaan.”

“Now, there are no more scholarships from politicians… No more PDAF scholars,” Dr. Minguez said.

Gersana added that after the loss of scholarships from politicians, the legislators turned over their scholars to Ched “para makapagtapos sila.”

Some legislators only give around P2,500 to P3,500 from their PDAF to their scholars. But they will be under Ched receiving at least 6,000.

The grants

StuFAP has three types of grants: The State Scholarship Program for incoming college students that may be either full or partial; Grant-in-Aid Program, also called ‘Tulong Dunong,’ is for current college students, recent high school graduates, and passers of Alternative Learning System (ALS) and Philippine Educational Placement Test (PEPT) with an average grade not more than 85 percent and they are granted P6,000 every month; and the Study Now Pay Later Program for private schools in which a grantee is given P7,500 every month to be paid two years after the student has graduated from college.

Special slots are given to persons with disabilities (PWDs), single parents, senior citizens, and students with indigenous affiliation.

An applicant must be a Filipino citizen, must not be more than 30 years old, must be a high school graduate or candidate for graduation, must come from an indigent family certified by the City Social Welfare and Development Office (CSWDO), having a combined gross annual income of parents or guardian not exceeding P300,000, and must not be a recipient of any government and financial assistance.

In order to retain the grant, students must have a maintaining grade point average of 2.5 or 80 percent with no failing grade.

Nursing is not included in the priority courses “because it is oversubscribed,” said Gersana.

Other Ched grants

Ched has also recently opened a new scholarship called Expanded Students Grant in Aid Program for Student Alleviation intended for those who are recipients of the Poverty Alleviation Program or Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps).

“DSWD pre-selects the recipients or the potential grantees and students and are only allowed to enroll in state universities and colleges,” Minguez said.

Ched is only given the list of recommended scholars where they, in turn, give the list to the institutions they will be enrolled in that will run the program in their respective regions.

Recipients of the grant will receive P30,000 for tuition and other fees, textbooks, and stipend for food and lodge.

A beneficiary must have no failing mark to maintain their scholarships.

Ched also offer scholarships for children of Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) members dubbed as Sajajatra Bangsamoro Study Grant, which was created last year; and also for children of Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) members called PAMANA Study Grant. The grants give P5,000 per semester to their recipients.

MILF and MNLF will pre-select their prospective scholars in coordination with the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (Opapp) and endorse the list to Ched.

“We don’t have a hand on who will be given [the scholarships],” Minguez said.

The grants and scholarships “is a good chance for others to go to school but don’t have money,” she added.

Donald Pallo, 22, a Communications student from Pilgrim Christian College, said he will be applying for either the Grant-in Aid or the Study Now Pay Later grant.

“Lisod man gud kung ako lang magpaskwela sa akong kaugaligon. Akong mama isa lang siya [na nagtrabaho], tapos upat mi [mag-igsoon],” he shared.

For now, Pallo is waiting for his school credentials to complete his application for the grants.

Marilyn Recalde, 44, a public school teacher, will be having two of her kids, Kim and Kenneth, enter college this year and will have the two apply the study grants from Ched.

“Dili man gud nako kaya,” she said about sending to college two kids.

At present, she has already secured their ID pictures and income tax return. She said she is planning to send them either to Xavier University or Mindanao University of Science and Technology.

“We would like to encourage sa mga gustong mag-aral that they should come to apply, but they should pay for the remaining [fees],” Gersana said.

Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on April 22, 2014.

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