Through the Students Grants-in-Aid Program for Poverty Alleviation (SGP-PA), college education is no longer a remote dream for poor students whose families belong to the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program also known as conditional cash transfer program (CCT). The scholarship program hopes to empower the deserving members of poor households by providing them the opportunity to be employed to higher value-added occupations to help alleviate their family from poverty and at the same time enable them to contribute to national development. Thus, educational grants of qualified CCT beneficiaries now extend up to tertiary education through this scholarship program.
The SGP-PA program commences this school year and some 4,000 beneficiaries nationwide shall benefit from the 500-million financial scholarship grant. Qualified beneficiaries shall be enrolled in leading state universities and colleges (SUCs) to take up priority and other degree programs that the CHED may deem critical to national development. These courses include Information Technology, Multi Media, Programming, Computer Science, etc.
Qualified beneficiaries will come from 609 identified focus municipalities covered by the Pantawid Pamilya. These areas were promulgated by the National Anti-Poverty Commission (NAPC) as the priority municipalities for poverty reduction due to factors which include magnitude of the poor, poverty gap, and conflict-affected municipalities under the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process’s (OPAPP) Payapa at Masaganang Pamayanan PAMANA). In addition, the students must not be more than 30 years old to be eligible in the program.
“The implementation of the SGP-PA is part of the long-term instrument and commitment to break the vicious poverty cycle affecting our populace. Inter-agency efforts are being harnessed to ensure the sustainability of the Pantawid Pamilya and the SGP-PA demonstrates this convergence,” Secretary Corazon Soliman said.
The Pantawid Pamilya is a human development program of the national government and a social protection strategy that invests in the health and education of poor children age 0-14 years old. Through the SGP-PA program, greater impact for the households is expected to be attained even after the children-beneficiaries graduate in the CCT program.
A maximum of 60,000 pesos grant per school year shall be provided to each student-beneficiary to cover tuition fee, school fees, textbooks, board and lodging, health and other related educational expenses and support services to complete the degree program.
The national SGP-PA committee tasked to oversee its implementation comprise of the Commission on Higher Education as the head agency and the members include the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).
For the student-beneficiaries to be retained in the program, they must be able to comply with set conditions and responsibilities. The students are required to carry a full load every semester as prescribed in the curriculum and graduate within the required period of the program. They must also maintain satisfactory academic performance in accordance with the policies and standards of the state universities and colleges where they are enrolled (SUCs). After graduation, a return of service in the Philippines for two years is also required by the program. And lastly, grantees must adhere to the terms and conditions as stipulated in the contract.