The Commission on Higher Education (CHED) clarified that only new applications for its Merit Scholarship Program would be suspended for academic year 2020 to 2021 to support the government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
CHED Chairman Prospero De Vera III made the clarification after he told senators in a hearing last week that the current budget of the commission can only cover existing scholarships. Granting new scholarships might lead to the discontinuation of existing scholarships, he said.
The CHED Merit Scholarship Program supposedly has 2,467 new slots for incoming freshman college for the upcoming school year.
This is to urgently support and contribute to the government’s efforts in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic and to prioritize need-based scholarships rather than merit-based scholarships,” De Vera said in a statement.
“With the available funding, we can only cover existing scholars to ensure their continuous education during these difficult times. This temporary suspension is intended to financially support national programs for financially vulnerable families affected by the COVID-19 pandemic,” he added.
The CHED Merit Scholarship Program is a yearly competitive scholarship given to students based on their grades the previous school year.
According to CHED, the Full Merit and Half Merit scholarships are open to all student applicants and the money is used for paying tuition, miscellaneous fees and other education expenses of students.
De Vera, however, clarified that programs under Republic Act No. 10931 or the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Law, such as the Tertiary Education Subsidy and Student Loan Program, would not be affected by budget cuts imposed by the Department of Budget and Management for the government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
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