THE regional office of the Department of Education (DepEd)-Davao Region urged parents of incoming senior high school (SHS) students to be wise in choosing schools to enroll their children for them to truly benefit from the government's financial assistance.
Deped-Davao Region spokesperson Jenielito Atillo said though the government's voucher program gives a specific financial subsidy to senior high school students, there are schools that offer higher fees than what the financial aid provides.
Senior high school enrollees in highly urbanized cities will each receive a P20,000 aid from the voucher program for the whole school year.
Enrollees in other cities and municipalities will also receive a full voucher value of P17,500 per student, an amount lower than that of those who enrolled in highly-urbanized cities.
In the National Capital Region, the amount to be given per student is P22,500.
Atillo said the voucher program is given in three ways: the full voucher or amount of P20,000 is for all Grade 10 completers who finished their junior high school in public schools in highly-urbanized cities such as Davao.
Eighty percent of which, or an equivalent of P16,000, go to Education Service Contracting (ESC) grantees or those who gained 100 percent financial aid from the government after enrolling to a private high school from a public elementary school.
A 50 percent of the full voucher program amount or P10,000 will be given to those who enrolled in state colleges or universities.
The voucher is directly given to the school where the voucher grantee is enrolled, Atillo said, adding that grounds for qualifications in the voucher program will only happen if the grantee will drop out from school in the middle of the school year.
"Walay problemahon ang ginikanan kana kung walay top-up [tuition fee] ang school [nga ila gipili] (Parents will not have a problem if they choose schools without top-up tuition fees)," Atillo said, adding that there are schools in the region that offer higher tuition fees compared to the aid given by the voucher program.
"The excess amount on the tuition fee is all the parents will have to pay," Atillo said.
"They really need to be wise in looking for schools to send their children because they might choose those that are beyond their financial capabilities. If that's the case, everything is useless. They will not feel the aid of the voucher program," he said in the vernacular, adding that Deped doesn't have a specific regulation in regulating schools from imposing high tuition fees.
Sun.Star Davao found out that Ateneo De Davao University offers a P60,330 tuition for a year in all tracks, Holy Cross of Davao College offers P28,924.50 for Academic and Sport Tracks, 25,007 for the Technical vocational (Techvoc) program, and P25,612 for the Techvoc-Home Economics program. The University of the Immaculate Concepcion (UIC) offers Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (Stem) and Humanities and Social Sciences (Hums) strands for P44,652 and 45,372 for Technical Vocational, and the Holy Child College of Davao also offers just a P250 tuition for full voucher grantees and P4,000 for the ESC grantees in a year.
Atillo said though they are happy that all private schools in Compostela Valley province agreed not to impose a top-up tuition fee. This means students will no longer pay for their tuition since it is already covered by the aid coming from the voucher program.
"They are really on the assistance. Ang pag-apil sa private schools sa [Compostela Valley] kay already something we are happy about (They really are on the assistance. The private schools joining in the non-imposition of top-up tuition fee is something we are already happy about)," Atillo said.
He added that to those who claimed that they cannot send their children to senior high school due to financial problem, there are public schools in the city where they can go to school for free.
"Public schools are for free. The only problem we have is with the private schools where some of them had top-up tuition fees," he said.