The Commission on Audit has found serious deficiencies in the various scholarship and student assistance programs being implemented by the Commission on Higher Education.
The 2019 annual audit report for CHED showed that procedural deficiencies and double entries for beneficiaries of the Tertiary Education Subsidy (TES) program were discovered by state auditors.
These issues were noted in the CHED Central Office, National Capital Region, Regions III, IV-A, IV-B, VI, X and XIII.
TES is a grant-in-aid program to extend financial support for college students.
COA Director Ellinore Lavilla told Chairman Prospero de Vera that CHED paid P96.36 million to 2,339 TES beneficiaries whose names are not included in the masterlist of qualifiers.
Double entries involving 1,263 beneficiaries were also noted, with CHED paying out over P52 million, state auditors said.
According to COA, at least P658.29 million in fund transfers remained unliquidated while delayed release of TES deprived “student grantees of the timely use” of the fund.
To address the audit issues, COA urged CHED to review carefully” the Masterlist of Listahanan qualifiers and require beneficiaries whose names do not appear in the masterlist to submit documents to support their claim.
Adverse audit observations were also reported in implementation of the CHED Scholarship Programs and the Tulong Dunong Program.
According to COA the objectives of the two programs for 2019-2020 “were not fully achieved” due to various reasons.
Auditors said the delay in the release of funds had affected timely utilization for the scholarship programs and resulted in the reversion of P19.9 million or 13.89 percent of the total funds received by CHEDRO-NCR.
At least 15,280 “on-going student grantees” and 10,956 grantees of the TDP remained unpaid as of December 31,2019, thus, “depriving the qualified and deserving student-scholars and grantees financial assistance” for their education.
Under the DP, students are entitled to P15,000 financial assistance for each academic year to help finance higher education expenses.
According to COA ,objectives of the CSPs and TDP to provide scholarship to poor but deserving college students “were not fully achieved due to the late release of the guidelines” for the programs.
The CHED management said financial benefits for 1,399 new grantees were unpaid because of their failure to submit documents needed for them to avail of the financial assistance.
The management added that delay in the grant of assistance to 9,557 beneficiaries of CHED-TDP was caused by non-availability of funds form the Unified Student Financial Assistance System (UniFAST).
Meanwhile, the implementation of the K to 12 Transition Program for Graduate Studies were also saddled with audit issues.
Audit examiners said the objectives of the program were not fully achieved due to low utilization of funds; delay in payment of allowances by one to 10 months and, in the case of CHEDRO I, lack of supporting documents.