COA to CHED: Collect on P180M in Study Now, Pay Later loans
by Allan Yves Briones
The Commission on Audit (COA) reprimanded the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) on the “deficient implementation” of its student loan programs, leaving millions uncollected which could be used to financially support more students.
According to the 2018 audit report, CHED posted a collection rate of a mere 1.18% on its Study Now Pay Later Plan (SNPLP), leaving P181.66 million uncollected in five regional offices.
During the course of the audit team’s investigation, they found that CHED regional offices in Region I, IV-A, VIII and X were unable to collect on SNPLP loans due to a variety of factors including inadequate documentation and management inaction.
Regional Office VI, in particular, posted a collection rate of 0% because CHED officials failed to formulate “policies or collection mechanisms” to aid in the implementation of the program.
State auditors also flagged long outstanding Student Assistance Fund for Education (SAFE) loans of P1.86 million in CHED’s Region IV-B office.
Section 10 of Republic Act No. 8545 established the SNPLP which was meant to finance educational loans, board and lodging, and other school fees. All of which were to be paid by the student after his graduation.
SAFE was created for graduating college students under CMO No. 25, series of 2008 to provide quick loans of up to P8,000 to solve financial pinches.
COA recommended that CHED intensify its efforts to collect loan repayments by continuously sending demand letters to delinquent students.
CHED, in the report, agreed to implement the state auditing agency’s recommendations.