Hontiveros flags ghost scholars haunting CHEd program

CHEd, ghost scholars


MANILA, Philippines — Senator Risa Hontiveros flagged on Wednesday the alleged “ghost scholars” benefiting from the scholarship program of the Commission on Higher Education (CHEd).

In a statement on Wednesday, Hontiveros noted that “ghost scholars” use the names of students who have already graduated from school as placeholders in the list of scholars to get tuition reimbursements, therefore, no longer qualified under the program.

“Almost 400 students have sent complaints to my office that they have not received their education subsidy,” the senator lamented.

“Kasama dito, may mga reklamo na may mga ‘ghost scholars’ na nakakatanggap ng tuition reimbursement ng mga estudyante na naka-graduate na. So kung hindi ang mga bata, sino ang totoong nagka-cash in? Seryosong alegasyon ito na kailangan imbestigahan ng CHED,” she added.

(This includes complaints that there are ghost scholars who get tuition reimbursement for students who graduated. If not the learners, who is doing the cash in? This is a serious allegation that the CHEd has to investigate.)

READ: CHEd wants additional P12.5-billion budget for scholars

During a hearing on Tuesday, Hontiveros quizzed the defective memorandum of agreement between the Unified Student Financial Assistance System (UniFAST), CHEd, and the Development Bank of the Philippines which resulted in P1-billion parked funds since 2019.

The opposition senator likewise said that her office received emails containing screenshots of UniFAST’s Facebook page posts, urging students to stand by the CHEd’s scholarship program.

This supposed call by UniFAST came after Hontiveros sought a probe into CHEd’s alleged P7-billion “questionable releases.”

“Mukhang sa official social media pages pa, na-gaslight pa sila na kung maimbestigahan ang mga anomalyang ito, matitigil ang libreng pag-aaral nila,” she said.

(It appears that they gaslight students through their official social media pages, saying that their free tuition will be halted if the anomaly is investigated.)

“Gusto nating imbestigahan ito para maayos ang mga problemang nakakaapekto sa maraming estudyante, hindi itigil yung programa. There is a real climate of fear among students, and we at the Senate should find out who is instigating it,” the lady senator went on.

(We want to investigate this to iron out the problem affecting many students, not to stop the program.)

Hontiveros pointed out that many parents and learners are asking for help for their studies, hence, pushing to extend assistance to them.