In partnership with Redemptorist communities, ASF has been implementing its comprehensive Educational Assistance Program (EAP). Started in 1997, this program aims to: (1) financially support the tertiary education of deserving students from poor families, (2) impart Christian values to further enhance their academic endeavors, and (3) involve the parents in the formation and education of their children.
Since then it has assisted more than 315 students from the Bicol region and the provinces of Aurora, Batangas, Pampanga, and areas in Metro Manila.
The Beneficiaries of the Educational Assistance Program
The program’s target beneficiaries are students from remote rural villages which were adopted by the Redemptorist community as their mission areas. These far-flung communities are often inaccessible by public transport and are rarely reached by government services. In these communities, only a handful are able to finish their high school (secondary school) education or reach college.
Potential beneficiaries of the program are screened carefully. ASF’s policy requires that all scholarship applicants must participate and pass the screening and selection process. This process includes examinations, home visits and interviews.
EAP is focused on three areas and currently has 53 male and female beneficiaries. These scholars are from the following areas:
|Area/Province||Number of Scholars|
Our scholars are pursuing their tertiary education in the following learning institutions:
- Those in Bicol study at the Bicol University in Legaspi City, the Catanduanes State Colleges in Virac and at the San Jose Community College in Albay.
- In Aurora, our scholars are enrolled in the Aurora State College of Technology (ASCOT)
- Our Batangas scholars are enrolled in the Lipa City Public College.
Meetings with the student-beneficiaries, a review of their grades, and consultations with various school authorities showed that our scholars are performing well in their academics.
Services and Benefits extended by the Program
1. School Benefits
The program extends financial assistance to the scholars to pay for the following:
- Tuition/miscellaneous fees
- School supplies/projects
- Transportation and meal allowance
2. Formation Activities
Despite the academic demands in school, students have been active in non-academic activities of EAP. These activities are aimed at improving their personality and developing their potentials as leaders and servants of their communities.
In Aurora, scholars are from Bianuan, Casiguran which is four to five hours away from their school in Baler. Thus, EAP scholars reside in a hut built by their parents on a lot near the school. These scholars participate in value formation activities such as bible sharing sessions and recollections and seminars focused on Church History, Basic Christian Leadership and Family Life. Group interaction and social relations among the scholars are further enhanced through shared responsibilities in household chores. A student coordinator is elected by the group to facilitate and coordinate their activities. During school breaks, they are involved in church activities in their parish at Bianuan, Casiguran.
Recollection and group dynamics sessions are conducted to enhance team building and develop harmonious relationship among our scholars in Batangas. Study group sessions are likewise conducted. During their free time, students act as volunteers in the Redemptorist Church in Lipa City.
In Bicol, students and parents hold their general assembly before the start of each semester. Students are active in school and social development activities like providing tutorial lessons to street children, participating in youth activities, and serving as volunteers in charitable programs of various religious groups.
3. Parents’ Participation and Involvement
The program also addresses the formation of parents. Orientation activities are conducted before the start of each semester to inform and remind them of their responsibilities. The parents of scholars in Aurora built a hut near the school (ASCOT) to serve as a dormitory for their children. Seminars on Christian Leaderships, Family Life and recollection sessions are also conducted for parents of all scholars. They usually become active in church activities as members of the Munting Sambayanang Kristiyano (Basic Ecclesial Communities) or as church volunteers.
Additional benefits gained by the scholars from this program include:
- Tutorials/remedial sessions for the students to facilitate learning;
- Christian formation seminars and activities(Christian leadership seminars, immersion/integration activities during school breaks, retreats and recollections) for the students and their parents;
- Free use of available resources in Redemptorist offices. These include the use of computer and supplies for their school papers, books, other information materials, and school related projects.
EAPs Semestral Financial Requirements per student
The basic tuition fees and miscellaneous expenses required by each student per semester amount to a minimum of PhP7,750.00. Approximately PhP14,550.00 is also needed by each student for their food, transportation and modest housing expenses for each semester. Thus, each student requires PhP22,300.00 (US$405.00 at the current exchange rate of US$1= PhP55.00) per semester.
With the increasing cost of tuition and miscellaneous fees, and other school expenses, there is a need for non government organizations, private benefactors and donors, and parents to pool their resources to support the tertiary education of deserving students.