STATE auditors chided the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) for granting P112 million to scholars without demanding “adequate documentation.” The funds came from the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) and the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP).
The Commission on Audit (COA) said CHED made the aid program highly questionable because “no strong mechanism was in place to ensure that the grantees were indeed qualified.”
The documentary requirements from applicants include, among others, an annual income tax return or certificate of tax exemption; school grades; notarized contract between CHED and the student borrower and proof of social insurance contribution.
But the COA found that the CHED merely relied on the list of scholars submitted by legislators “without undergoing independent review and evaluation of the actual existence of scholars and their entitlement.”
For schoolyear 2011 to 2012 and the first semester of 2012 to 2013, claims for 10,777 applicants at the Central Office reached P57.18 million.
The P57.18-million grant came from 13 representatives and two senators “funded by their PDAF and DAP allocations.”
Of these, 251 beneficiaries received financial benefits ranging from P11,000 to P16,000 per semester, more than the maximum allowable benefit of P15,000 per semester for full merit scholars.
In the National Capital Region, P41.35 million were also given to scholars of 31 district representatives and 24 party-list lawmakers.
Again, CHED simply relied on the list submitted to them by the lawmakers.
In the Bicol region, claims reached P13.43 million but there was “absence of specific guidelines” on the selection of the scholars.
COA warned CHED officials that if the deficiencies in the Student Financial Assistance Program are not resolved, the auditors may issue audit suspensions or disallowances that will adversely affect the CHED’s grant-in-aid program.