DAVAO CITY  -“An additional 1,394 slots for the Expanded Student’s Grant-in-Aid Program (ESGPPA) will be available for Davao Region this year,” reports Elvie Bahinting, Regional Partnership Focal Person for Pantawid Pamilya.

Davao Region currently has 624 college scholars in seven state universities and colleges (SUCs)  – University of Southeastern Philippines (USEP) Compostela Campus, Davao Oriental State College for Science and Technology (DOSCST), Davao del Norte State College Panabo (DNSC), USEP Obrero, USEP Mintal, Southern Philippines Agri-business, Marine and Aquatic School of Technology – Digos City Campus (SPAMAST) and SPAMAST – Malita Campus.

The Commission on Higher Education (CHED) and Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) spearheaded the SGPPA in 2012.

SGPPA ensures that the grantees are enrolled in selected SUCs duly recognized by CHED, channelled to CHED priority courses, and be extended the needed support that will guarantee completion of studies thus qualify them for a high-value added jobs in the future.

“A total of 4,041 scholars nationwide benefitted from the SGPPA for Academic Year 2012-2013. This year a staggering 36,000 scholars will be added nationwide for Academic Year 2013-2014 through ESGPPA,” Bahinting continued.

The selection of potential ESGPPA scholars is identified using the parameter of one beneficiary per Pantawid household. This number is proportioned to the number of households and the area coverage per municipality.

Potential scholars must be 16-20 years old and must be willing and interested to become a student beneficiary. Moreover, an upcoming student grantee must pass the entrance examination set by the respective SUC.

However, in cases that the number of potential beneficiaries exceeds the allocated slots, grade requirement shall be applied. Students belonging to the upper 20% of the graduating class will be prioritized.

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

A student-grantee receives a maximum of Php 60,000.00 scholarship grant per school year or P 30,000.00 per semester. This is broken down to Php 20, 000/year Tuition Fee Cost, Php 5,000/year Textbook Fees and other learning materials, and Php 35,000 (that is, P 3,500/month x 10 months) stipend (for board and lodging, transportation, clothing, health/medical needs, basic school supplies and other related costs).

Daghan kaayong salamat sa higayon nga kami nahimong iskolar sa SGPPA. Karon wala nami sa bukid gatrabaho kundili naa na sa classroom ga-eskwela. Ang amoang mga pangandoy hapit na namo makab-ot tungod sa SGPPA (Thank you very much for the opportunity of becoming an SGPPA scholar. We are no longer at the farm working but in the classroom studying. Because of SPPPA our dreams are almost within our reach),” shared SGPPA grantee Arjun Delucan of Barangay Pinalpalan, Malita, Davao del Sur.

Pantawid Pamilya has been keeping children in school and families healthy since 2008. At present, Davao Region has 194,789 household beneficiaries in all 4 provinces, 6 cities, 43 municipalities covering 2,217 barangays. (DSWD)