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Pinag-enroll, tapos iniwan sa ere! 700k will be out of college due to P11.6B cut in CHED budget – Recto

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Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto on Friday sounded the alarm over the P11.6-billion cut made in the budget of the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) for 2020 would affect hundreds of thousands of college students availing of its scholarship programs.

In a statement, Recto said for 2020, CHED was allocated P40.784 billion, which is nearly 23 percent lower than its budget of P52.43 billion this year.

Recto noted that the bulk of the CHED budget, or about 80 percent, is for the implementation of the program mandates of Republic Act 10931, or the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education (UAQTE).

For 2019, the UAQTE budget is P42.5 billion. The biggest component of this is the Tertiary Education Subsidy (TES), which has an allocation of P25.28 billion for this year to fund 708,993 beneficiaries in five major assistance programs.

Recto said the proposed UAQTE budget for 2020 is P35.36 billion, a deep P7.12 billion cut.

He added that on top of this deduction, is the obliteration of P2.6 billion for the Tulong Dunong Program.

“Instead of diplomas, the government will be handing out dismissal slips. The budget cut for tertiary education is a ticket to a forced vacation for many public and private college students,” he said.

“Okay lang sana kung hindi pa sila naka-enroll sa kolehiyo; kung papasok pa lang. Pero karamihan naka-enrol na, prodded by a government guarantee that if they study hard and maintain good grades, they can keep the scholarship,” he added.

Without the restoration of the budget cut, Recto said the continued schooling of 175,260 students under the Student Financial Assistance Program, 1,932 medical scholars, and between 115,352 to 199,920 students who benefit from the TES would be in peril.

“Ito ay ang sa CHED lamang. Hiwalay ang budget nito sa budget ng 111 na state universities and colleges, na ang P64.86 billion na proposed appropriations for 2020 ay mas mataas lamang ng 1/5th of 1 percent sa pondo nito sa taong kasalukuyan” he said.

“There are no easy solutions to this problem of underfunding. Congress is not a mint that can just print money. But by raising this issue, I hope that both houses will find ways on how to maintain the funding status quo,” he added.

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