June 25, 2024

The Insider News

Direct from the source

59 SUC students get aid from Rep. Duterte, CHED

FIFTY-NINE students from various state universities and colleges (SUCs) received cash grants for their tuition from the First Congressional District Office and the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) on January 10, Wednesday, at People’s Park here.

CHED-Davao chief administrative officer Maria Bonjeavem Alger said that each recipient received P25,000 cash from the Student Monetary Assistance for Recover and Transition (SMART) program initiated by the House of Representatives in partnership with the CHED.

Alger said the SMART program aims to help increase the number of graduates despite the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. She added that SMART targets marginalized and disadvantaged workers with students enrolled in SUCs.

“The government acknowledges that even though the pandemic ended in 2022, the impact remains. There are still parents who lost their jobs and have not yet returned to work and are having a hard time sustaining the needs of their children,” Alger said.

According to the CHED, the program started last year under their Higher Education Development Fund (HEDF). The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) released P1 billion to implement the SMART program on August 29, 2023.

“It is a one-time payment for students who are Filipino citizens, enrolled in any higher education institution recognized by the CHED for the first semester of school year 2023-2024, and has no other scholarship granted by any government agency or government institution,” Alger said.

Students who want to avail of the SMART program can go to congressional district offices here to submit their application, certificate of enrolment, and other vital documents. The congressional district offices will then endorse them to the CHED central office, which evaluates the application.

Alger said there are almost 2,000 slots for the Davao Region, and Rep. Paolo Duterte’s office has 80 slots who can avail of the program in Davao City. She added that today’s release of the cash grants is the first batch, and another batch will receive the grant.

“Once the CHED central office validates the applications, they will transfer the budget to CHED Region 11, and then the region will revalidate if the student is eligible and enrolled to an institution here,” Alger said.

30-year-old single mother Margie Gamayot, a third-year education student of John Paul College Davao and resident of Barangay 76-A Bucana, thanked Rep. Duterte and the CHED for providing such an opportunity for students like her who have financial struggles.

“Juggling work, school, and taking care of a child is challenging, but for our aspirations, it is manageable. I have already paid for the first semester, so I will use what I have received now to pay for the second semester, said Gamayot, a phone accessories sales lady.

May-Ann Rafael, 21, a second-year psychology student at the University of Mindanao and resident of Iwha Village in Toril, could not help but express her happiness upon receiving the cash grant. She said this is a big help for her parents. May-Ann was with her mother.

“Daghang salamat, Congressman Pulong, and to CHED. As a parent, with farming as our sole source of income, this greatly helps with my child’s tuition. Out of my five children, three are now in college. This will ease our financial burden in terms of one tuition fee, May-Ann’s mother, Jun-Ann said.

Rep. Duterte advocates for approving legislative proposals providing scholarships and educational support to underprivileged workers and their offspring. He aims to assist students whose parents fall within the lower-income sort and those who have faced unemployment due to the pandemic.