by Harley F. Palangchao
The P14 million fund for scholars from the 140 barangays in Benguet has been released to the regional office of the Commission on Higher Education.
The amount will fund part of the school fees of poor but qualified students from the province under the Tulong Dunong program of CHED, said Amor Moresto, executive assistant of Benguet Rep. Ronald Cosalan.
Thousands of students applied as beneficiaries of the education assistance fund at the Benguet Congressional District Office from March 1 to April 26 this year.
Modesto said the CHED screened the applicants based on the policies and guidelines of the program.
Cosalan earlier announced his office increased the number of qualified scholars with a minimum of 10 each from the 140 barangays in 13 towns of Benguet.
Poor but deserving students are those whose parents cannot support their children’s college education. These students must maintain the desired passing grades based on standards set by the government under the new Educational Assistance Program (EAP) of the government.
The scholarship program starting school year 2014-2015 may be availed by old and new applicants.
The Lower House and the Senate earmarked P4 billion for poor but deserving college students in the P2.265 trillion national budget this year.
Funds for the new EAP was pooled from realignments made by the Senate and House of Representatives conference committee that were approved in the 2014 budget and signed into law by President Benigno Aquino III December last year.
The funds were distributed to 113 State universities and colleges nationwide.
Of the P2.265T budget, at least P84.1 million was allotted for college students from the Cordillera.
Malacañang’s approval of the new EAP came in wake of the nationwide clamor by thousands of students, whose scholarship grants were previously funded by the Priority Development Assistance Fund.
With the Supreme Court declaring PDAF as unconstitutional, thousands of scholars who are dependent to PDAF of their respective lawmakers were threatened they might not pursue their college studies.
Around 300,000 college students enrolled in SUCs nationwide used to receive educational financial assistance funded by the defunct PDAF through government agencies.