By Merlina Hernando-Malipot
The deadline for the filing of online application for the Senior High School Voucher Program (SHS VP) for School Year (SY) 2019-2020 has been extended to June 7, the Department of Education (DepEd) announced Monday.
In a press briefing during the school opening at the Signal Village National High School in Taguig City, Education Secretary Leonor Briones said the deadline was extended “due to the higher demand” from learners and parents as well.
Due to the delayed approval of the 2019 national budget, DepEd only opened the SHS VP application for this SY last May 26 in coordination with the Private Education Assistance Committee (PEAC).
The deadline for receipt of manual applications was on May 31. Online applicants were allowed to submit their applications through the Online Voucher Application Portal until June 2 but only if they have registered their accounts on or before May 31 were allowed to log in.
To “ensure that all students have access to quality education,” Briones said DepEd decided to extend the deadline for online application.
According to DepEd Undersecretary and Spokesperson Annalyn Sevilla, the DepEd has only 56,000 slots for students who wish to apply for the SHS VP as there is a lower allocation this year compared to 2018.
Sevilla noted that Government Assistance to Students and Teachers in Private Education (GASTPE) allocation in 2018 was P13 billion but this year, only P9 billion was allocated for the program. Given this situation, DepEd is “short” of at least P6 billion. Despite this, she assured that the SHS VP program will continue and would accommodate as many learners the budget would allow.
Meanwhile, DepEd reminded that only Grade 10 completers from private junior high schools who wish to avail themselves of the financial subsidy need to apply since they are not among the automatic voucher recipients.
DepEd and PEAC reminded that “Grade 10 completers from public schools, LUCs, and SUCs, as well as Grade 10 completers from private schools who are Education Service Contracting (ESC) program grantees, are automatically qualified for the SHS VP and do not need to apply.”
DepEd Undersecretary Jesus Mateo said around one million learners are under the ESC through the GASTPE. The SHS VP is one of the several initiatives of the government to make basic education accessible and affordable for Filipino learners nationwide.
As per DepEd, the Qualified Voucher Applicants (QVA), formerly called Qualified Voucher Recipient (QVR), shall receive a subsidy on their tuition and other school fees, the amount of which will depend on the category of the QVA and the location of the school where the students will enroll in.
Based on the DepEd Order No. 60, series of 2017 or the “Guidelines on the Application for the Senior High School Voucher Program for School Year 2018-2019” SHS voucher amounts are as follows (depending on the category of the QVA): P22,500; P18,000; and P11,500 in the National Capital Region (NCR). In Non-NCR highly urbanized cities (HUCs), vouchers amount to P20,000; P16,000; and P10,000. In other locations, vouchers amount to P17,500; P14,000; and P8,750.
Based on the updated projected enrollment for SHS from DepEd, there are 3,087,646 incoming Grades 11 and 12 or SHS students this coming SY 2019-2020. Of this number, 1,660,993 will go to public SHSs; 1,341, 690 will go to private SHSs; and 84,963 will go to State Universities and Colleges (SUCS) and Local Universities and Colleges (LUCs).
Despite the late announcement of SHS VP application, DepEd officials urged SHS providers to “accept” the incoming SHS learners.
DepEd said voucher applicants should submit supporting documents to facilitate proper assessment of their applications. These include the completed Voucher Application Form (VAF-1); recent 2×2 colored ID photo; proof of financial means of parents or guardians; signed parent consent form for voucher applicants below 18 years old at the time of the submission of the application; and Certificate of Financial Assistance received (issued by the school), if applicable.
“The applications submitted after the deadline, as well as applications with incomplete VAF-1 and incomplete required documents, will not be accepted,” DepEd said. “Applications that contain false information and applications submitted by learners who are not eligible for the SHS VP shall likewise be disqualified,” it added.
Meanwhile, DepEd announced that the results of the applications will be announced on June 17 and “are deemed final and not subject to appeal.”
For the extended application, the results of the SHS VP will be out on June 24.
DepEd also advised applicants to refer to DepEd Order No. 10, s. 2019, or the “Guidelines on Eligibility and Application for the Senior High School Voucher Program in School Year 2019-2020.”