CHED: Over 13,000 poor students can continue their studies under TES

Published November 20, 2018, 5:59 PM

by Francine Ciasico

By Merlina Hernando-Malipot

The Commission on Higher Education (CHED) on Tuesday said that over 13,000 poor but deserving scholars are now covered under the Tertiary Education Subsidy (TES) of the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act (UAQTEA) or Republic Act 10931.

CHED Commissioner Prospero de Vera III (RTVM / MANILA BULLETIN)
CHED Commissioner Prospero de Vera III

CHED Chairman and Unified Student Financial Assistance System for Tertiary Education (UniFAST) Governing Board Chair Dr. J. Prospero de Vera III, in a statement, announced that a total of 13,760 students coming from poor families “can now continue their studies with their automatic inclusion” under the TES.

De Vera announced this “good news” to Expanded Students Grant-in-Aid Program for Poverty Alleviation Program (ESGP-PA) scholars who earlier complained of the delay in the release of their stipends during the transition of the ESGP-PA scholarship funds from the state universities and colleges (SUCs) to CHED-UniFAST. “The UniFAST could not fast track the release of the stipends of current ESGP-PA scholars unless the proper billings were sent by their SUCs with all the requirements to validate the scholar’s details attached for verification,” he explained.

Prior to RA 10931, De Vera noted that the selection and validation of ESGP-PA scholars was done by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and funding was directly lodged by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) to the SUCs. Under RA 10931, he explained that “all continuing ESGP-PA scholars are prioritized as beneficiaries” of the TES which received an allocation of P16 Billion from the Free Higher Education budget of P40 billion in FY 2018.

De Vera said that to date, a total of 55 SUCs with complete billing and documentary requirements of CHED-UniFAST have been issued check payments for their ESGP-PA scholars totaling P259,403,200.00. “Of the 55, only 44 SUCs have claimed their checks while the checks of 11 SUCs remain unclaimed with the CHED,” he explained. “There are 18 more SUCs that will be issued their check payments soon totaling P163,646,400,” he added.

As of November 6, 2018, De Vera said the UniFAST secretariat has already “endorsed for processing to CHED Administrative and Finance Management Service an additional 24 SUCs for payments worth P172,428,400.”

Meanwhile, De Vera instructed all SUCs to “fast track giving of benefits” to their ESGP-PA scholars immediately upon receipt of their check payments. “I continue to get complaints from ESGP-PA scholars that they have not received their stipends since the start of the semester,” he said. “SUCs must prioritize the submission of documents, claim the check from CHED, and release the stipends to make sure our students can continue their studies,” he added.

De Vera noted that there are still 13 SUCs “who have not complied with the requirements for the downloading of funds” thus, CHED-UniFAST has given the following SUCs until November 20, 2018 to do so in order to expedite release of their payments. These SUCS include Adiong Memorial Polytechnic State College, Camiguin Polytechnic State College, Central Bicol State University of Agriculture, Cotabato Foundation College of Science and Technology, Eastern Samar State University, Cagayan State University, Mindoro State College of Agriculture and Technology, North Luzon Philippines State College, Quirino State University, Don Honorio Ventura Technological State University, Iloilo Science and Technology University, Eulogio “Amang” Rodriguez Institute of Science and Technology and Rizal Technological University.

The ESGP-PA beneficiaries are “poor but deserving students belonging to families” listed in the DSWD’s Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps). “They are currently enrolled in 109 SUCs taking up CHED priority programs and other courses offerings within the government’s key growth areas,” De Vera said. “They get an annual subsidy of P40,000 for their books, food, transportation and other expenses,” he ended.