In line with its efforts to provide access to free and quality tertiary education especially to disadvantaged Filipino students, the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) is assisting 17 private higher education institutions (HEIs) in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) so they will be qualified for free higher education.
“BARMM remains to have the highest poverty incidence across regions and the pandemic just worsened the situation,” said CHED and Unified Financial Assistance System for Tertiary Education Act (UniFAST) Board Chairman Popoy De Vera in a statement issued Saturday night, June 19.
CHED is helping these private HEIs to be included in the CHED Registry to benefit from the programs under Republic Act 10931 or the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Law.
“We are assisting these HEIs to be included immediately in the validation for qualified Tertiary Education Subsidy (TES) beneficiaries,” De Vera explained.
CHED said that these 17 private HEIs and their offered programs were found to be compliant with all the policies, standards, and guidelines of CHED in Academic Year 2020-2021 and have been given the Certificate of Government Recognition (COPC).
CHED explained that while these private HEIs already have government recognition, they “have yet to pass an evaluation” by the CHED Regional Office before making it to the CHED Registry of Programs.
“UniFAST then issues the credentials to the HEI to access the TES Portal, where they would submit information of their enrolled students for the validation and verification process,” CHED explained.
CHED noted that programs offered by Valdez Mother and Child (VMC) Asian College Foundation – a private school in Tacurong City, Sultan Kudarat – are among the newest additions to the CHED Registry.
Meanwhile, Higher Education Director General Marjuni Maddi of the Bangsamoro Ministry of Basic, Higher and Technical Education (MBHTE) said that the region continues to pursue efforts in reconfiguring higher education in the Bangsamoro.
He also expressed confidence that with De Vera’s strong leadership, support and assistance to help improve the delivery of higher education services in the region will continue to be extended to them.
“On top of what the CHED is doing for the student grantees of UniFAST and other scholarship programs of the government, we are also grateful for the HECBOL Project,” Maddi said.
“It has provided us a vibrant platform for collaboration and network, as evidenced by a good teamwork and partnership during the assessment and evaluation of VMC Asian College Foundation,” he added.
CHED said that the evaluation process of the said HEIs is conducted together with its offices in Region XII, Region IX and MBHTE.
Meanwhile, CHED said that it continues to assist the other private HEIs in BARMM so that students enrolled in these schools may avail themselves of the benefits of the TES and Student Loan Program (SLP).
CHED said that for Academic Year 2020-2021, more than 42,709 students in state universities and colleges (SUCs) in BARMM are benefiting from free higher education (FHE).
During the first year of implementation of the TES Program in AY 2018-2019, CHED added that there were 10,965 TES registered grantees both for public and private HEIs in the region.
This number, CHED said, has increased to 17,967 in AY 2019-2020 and has jumped to 19,876 for AY 2021-2022.
Meanwhile, De Vera assured that access to free and quality tertiary education will continue to be offered to disadvantaged Filipino students by “giving them additional funds that will help them cope with the health crisis and cover not only their educational needs but even their living expenses.”