More than 54,000 students from private colleges and universities across the country have already received the 5,000 cash assistance under the subsidy program implemented by the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), an official said on Wednesday.
CHED Chairman J. Prospero De Vera III said the Commission already distributed the one-time grant to a total of 54,761 private school students under the subsidy program called Bayanihan 2 for Higher Education Tulong Program or B2HELP.
“As instructed by President Duterte to immediately implement the Bayanihan 2 amelioration programs, CHED has released close to P300 million to 927 private schools to reduce the unpaid tuition and miscellaneous fees of their students so they can continue their studies,” De Vera said in a statement.
The B2HELP, CHED earlier explained, aims to provide subsidy and allowance to students in public and private tertiary institutions, especially those who still have unpaid school fees for Academic Years 2019-2020 and 2020-2021.
Some P300 million funding has been allotted for the program as part of the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act or the Bayanihan 2 in a bid to jump start the economy and provide additional amelioration assistance to Filipinos affected by the pandemic.
For its part, the Coordinating Council of Private Educational Associations (COCOPEA) tagged the assistance distribution as “timely,” adding that it will continue to support the Commission to ensure continuity of a quality higher education in the country.
“The timely government assistance to students in private higher education institutions (HEIs) through the Bayanihan 2 has complemented the efforts of the private higher education sector, particularly on innovation while also looking after the health and welfare of their students,” COCOPEA Managing Director Joseph Noel Estrada said.
“We, therefore, manifest our appreciation, confidence, and support to CHED on its many endeavors not only for ensuring the continuity of education but also in laying down the plans in future-proofing quality higher education in the country with due recognition of the complementary role of the private sector,” he added.
COCOPEA Chairperson and St. Michael’s College of Laguna President Lourdes Almeda-Sese also commended CHED for including private HEIs under the subsidy program especially in the time of a pandemic.
Meanwhile, De Vera thanked the President, as well as the members of the Congress and the Senate, for “listening to the plea of students” amid a health crisis.
“[We thank them for] including an amelioration package for affected students, particularly in private universities, and for helping our affected students continue their studies,” De Vera said.
Aside from B2HELP, the CHED and the Unified Student Financial Assistance System for Tertiary Education (UniFAST) launched in September last year the P1-billion Tabang OFW program to give one-time educational assistance of P30,000 to dependents of overseas Filipino workers who were repatriated and could not go back to their jobs due to the pandemic.