From just 299 students, an additional 900 poor college students have now been given the opportunity to enter college with the Expanded Students’ Grants-in-Aide Program for Poverty Alleviation (ESGP-PA).

This joint program of the national government, including the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), Department of Budget and Management Department of Social Welfare and Development, and state universities and colleges (SUCs), provides scholarship and stipend to potential scholars entering college level from households under Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program.

In the region, there are already 1,279 grantees of the ESGP-PA which are enrolled in CHED accredited priority courses in different SUCs in the Cordilleras. Highest enrolled is recorded in Benguet State University with 456 student grantees, followed by Ifugao State University with 206, Abra State Institute of Sciences and Technology with 197, Kalinga-Apayao State College with 195, Mountain Province State Polytechnic College with 179, and Apayao State College with 46.

Each student grantee receives P60,000 scholarship grant per year, which was broken down to P20,000 for tuition, P5,000 for textbooks and other learning materials, and P35,000 stipend allotted for board and lodging, transportation, clothing, health and medical needs, and other basic school needs.

The program aims to contribute in increasing the number of enrolment in higher education in line with the national government’s priority degree programs among poor households, and support their entry to labor markets through placement assistance.

Meanwhile, to ensure higher rate of success among the grantees, the BSU has its own wellness program to provide interventions for ESGP-PA grantees addressing the academic, career, personal-social development and values formation of student-grantees.

According to Guidance and Counseling Unit Head and ESGP-PA Coordinator Maricris P. Lad-ey, the university provides academic advising and coaching to students especially of those with below average grades. The grantees are also included to the Society of Scholarship and Grantees wherein their fellow scholars coach them.

For the first semester this school year, most grantees enrolled in BSU have satisfactory school (academics and behavior) performance, Lad-ey shared. # DSWD-CAR, SOCIAL MARKETING UNIT, Kaye Ann O. Mapalo

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