May 22, 2020

The Commission on Higher Education (CHED) announced during the hearing of the Senate Committee of the Whole that they will not be granting new merit scholarships this school year. This is due to a portion of the Unified Financial Assistance System for Tertiary Education Act (UniFAST) fund not being released anymore, according to CHED chairperson Prospero de Vera III.

He also said that the commission has yet to determine how many beneficiaries will be affected by this decision. On the other hand, current scholarship recipients are allotted with the remaining funds, as they were the committee’s priority.

“Kung tatanggap kami ng bago tapos hindi mabibigyan yung continuing [scholars], mas kawawa sila. At least huwag na lang tatanggap ng mga bagong scholar,” De Vera said.

Previously, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) decided to exempt funds for the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act from the budget cut among the appropriations across agencies. According to DBM, 35 percent of the programmed appropriations under the P4.1 trillion national budget for 2020 will no longer be released to augment the government funds for COVID-19 response.

Aside from the scholarship budget cut, the pandemic has also affected education by pushing the start of classes to a later date, and with adjustments considered for the current situation nationwide. Through the practice of “flexible learning,” wherein digital and non-digital technology will be used and does not necessarily require connectivity, Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) may begin classes in August.


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TAGS: 2020 budget CHED commission on higher education covid-19 education merit scholarships