P1.7B in DOST scholarship funds unused – COA
MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Audit (COA) has flagged the Science Education Institute (SEI) of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) for some P1.7 billion in unused scholarship funds that were not remitted to the Bureau of the Treasury.
In its 2020 audit report, the COA said this was the amount remaining after the partial remittance of the SEI’s unspent balance.
The auditing agency told the SEI to return these funds to the Treasury, including grants intended for scholars who were no longer eligible or qualified to receive their benefits.
In the same audit report, the COA called out the SEI for the P5.38 billion in unliquidated fund transfers to implementing agencies, including state universities and colleges (SUCs).
State auditors said SUCs had the biggest share of the outstanding balance of fund transfers totaling P2.74 billion.
The COA told the SEI to require the implementing agencies to strictly comply with the immediate submission of the liquidation reports.
In a separate audit report, the COA also called out the Civil Service Commission (CSC) for the P16.61 million in unsettled refunds for local scholarship grants.
The COA said the amount remained uncollected for more than 10 years due to the lack of continuous monitoring and enforcement of collections.
The agency told the CSC to exhaust all means to collect the receivables and to request for authority to write off accounts that could no longer be collected.
In 2020, a total of 9,788 senior high school students out of the 102,526 examinees qualified for the country’s premier science scholarship programs of the DOST-SEI.
The DOST reported that of the qualifiers, 5,917 were scholars under Republic Act No. 7687, which provided scholarships to academically talented students from economically disadvantaged families, while 3,871 were under the DOST-SEI Merit Scholarship Program.
The previous year, 9,852 scholars passed the DOST-SEI scholarship program.
According to the DOST, the science scholars would receive a monthly stipend of P7,000, tuition fee subsidy up to P40,000 per academic year for those enrolled in private universities and colleges, book allowance, PE clothing allowance (one-time only), one economy-class roundtrip fare a year for those studying outside of their home province, outright thesis allowance and group accident insurance.
After graduation, DOST-SEI scholars are required to serve in the country according to their fields of specialization for a period equivalent to the number of years they enjoyed the scholarship.
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