The University of the Philippines (UP) Alumni Association United Arab Emirates chapter (UPAA-UAE) granted a scholarship to Jaymar Santillan, son of a Filipino domestic helper, a report of Gulf News said.
Santillan, 16, a freshman accountancy student at the UP Visayas campus, told Gulf News that he considered the scholarship as "an early Christmas gift, a once-in-a-lifetime chance that I have to grab. And so I am very thankful."
However, Santillan said he has no plan to tell his mother immediately, saying he would do so on Christmas Eve.
Gulf News reported Santillan's father died when he was 11, while his mother works part-time as a helper, earning P18,000 a year.
According to a news release sent to GMA News Online by the UPAA-UAE, the scholarship granted to Santillan was under the alumni association's "Adopt-A-Scholar" program.
Lucy Suerte, UPAA-UAE’s Education committee chairperson, said “In expressing our preference of choosing a scholar-beneficiary, only UP students whose family’s annual income is no higher than P250,000 (AED 21,000) may be considered as a recipient of the scholarship grant.”
A ‘socialized’ tuition fee scheme is being implemented in UP, a state university. The Philippine government subsidizes tuition fees for all UP students in varying amounts depending on the student’s family/household income. UP students are thus called “Iskolar ng Bayan” (country’s scholars).
Students whose family belongs to the lowest income bracket enjoy full subsidy and school fees are waived.
“Since the UPAA-UAE scholarship program is intended to assist students belonging to the ‘lower family-income-bracket’ the grant amount is then provided to the scholar in the form of book subsidy and monthly cost-of-living allowance or stipend,” Suerte explained.
UPAA-UAE also signed a Memorandum of Agreement with UP for the establishment of an
Aimed at becoming a permanent source of funds for the alumni group’s succeeding scholars, the agreement was signed in the Philippines last August 2011 by UP President Alfredo Pascual and UPAA-UAE’s Vice President Albert Alba.
The UPAA-UAE said Santillan was chosen as the scholarship grant’s recipient not only because of his family's financial situation but also because of his outstanding academic performance.
UP’s Office of Scholarship and Student Affairs said Santillan achieved a weighted average of ‘1.625’ in the preceding semester of the current school year (the university grading system have ‘1.0’ as the highest score or ‘Excellent’ and ‘3.0’ as ‘Satisfactory’).