CHED’s UniFAST Achieves Near 100% Fiscal 2020 Funds Utilization

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MANILA – The Unified Student Financial Aid System for Higher Education (UniFAST), an agency attached to the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), posted an overall budget utilization rate (BUR) of 99.67 % of its continuing allocation for fiscal year 2020 for programs under Republic Act 10931 or the Universal Access to Quality Higher Education Act.

This figure is higher than its previous BURs in fiscal years 2018 and 2019 despite the restrictions imposed to contain the Covid-19 pandemic.

UniFAST Central Office has achieved a 99.97% utilization rate of its PHP 3 billion Free Higher Education (FHE) allocation at State Universities and Colleges (SUC) and Universities and local colleges recognized by CHED (LUC) and the Grant for Higher Education (TES). ) Program for new beneficiaries while CHED regional offices achieved a utilization rate of 99.39%.

For comparison, the national government’s disbursement rate as a percentage of obligations as of December 1, 2021 is only 75.2% based on the latest available statement of appropriations, allocations, obligations, disbursements and balances from the Budget Department. and management. .

Meanwhile, UniFAST is determined to use its PHP 44 billion allocation for fiscal year 2021. Under Republic Act No. 11640, the House of Representatives and Senate extended the validity of the UniFAST budget financial year 2021 until December 31, 2022.

To date, the UniFAST central office has achieved a utilization rate of 99.84% of its allocation of PHP 18.82 billion covering free higher education and new TES beneficiaries.

“CHED and UniFAST have always adhered to the cash budgeting system and I’m not just talking about obligation but actual disbursements. As part of the RA 10931 programs, the pandemic has not prevented us from continuing our operations in FHE reimbursements, as well as the payment of TES allowances for our scholarship students,” said Prospero “Popoy” De Vera, president of the board of CHED and UniFAST. in a press release Wednesday.

When attorney Ryan Estevez took over as head of UniFAST, the agency was able to achieve very high budget utilization by strengthening the Secretariat’s human resource base in central and regional offices, streamlining program processes, adopting ICT applications to facilitate document processing and signing, and policy development based on stakeholder consultation and feedback.

Several partnership projects to promote higher education have been deployed with the Land Bank of the Philippines, Department of Labor and Employment – Overseas Workers Welfare Administration, University of the Philippines Population Institute, Film Development Council of the Philippines, Business Mirror and REX Education Publishing among others.

At the recent CHED Commission En Banc meeting, UniFAST was commended for its achievements.

“In keeping with the saying ‘No student will be left behind,’ we continue to wisely implement the mandates of RA 10931, which is arguably the most transformative, sweeping and unprecedented legislation this administration has passed” , Commissioner Aldrin Darilag said.

Commissioner Ronald Adamat attributed this achievement to the diligence, sacrifice and hard work of the people at CHED-UniFAST, as well as the cooperation of HEIs who ensured that students, including those from marginalized sectors, were helped during these difficult times. times. (PR)

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