It’s interesting to see that other people recognize the value of our country’s natural resources, even if we ourselves don’t. In fact, there is at least one scholarship grant out there that caters to potential graduates of agriculture courses in the Philippines. It also has a distinctively Japanese flair to it. I’m referring to the Shouichi Yoshida Memorial Scholarship (SYMS).
The SYMS is actually open to deserving yet economically handicapped Filipino (and otherwise) students. As was mentioned earlier, it only provides financial support for agriculture majors who are pursuing their first undergraduate degree courtesy of a Philippine university.
Here’s the interesting bit: students from UP Los Baños will enjoy a monthly stipend of 2,000 for 10 months every school year. This grant is good for five years or until the applicants’ graduate—whichever period of time is shorter. The package also includes tuition/matriculation and miscellaneous school fees.
On the other hand, students from other universities with agriculture programs will receive the same package deal in a slightly modified form—they’ll get P1,800 per month for 10 months every school year.
The SYMS is specifically on the lookout for students who are:
- UPCAT and NSAT passers
- scholastically promising – must belong to the honor roll or the upper 5% of their graduating class
- Future agriculture majors
- In need of financial assistance
- proficient in written and spoken English
- People of good moral character
In terms of selection, kindly note that a greater emphasis is placed on the applicants’ financial status and high school grades, followed by English proficiency and UPCAT/NSAT scores. Students whose families earn no more than 900 pesos a day will receive the greatest priority and consideration.
Besides these, the SYMS also has special requirements for foreign applicants. A government institute or agency from their home country will need to certify their financial status standard of living, area of origin, educational standard and the salaries and occupations of their relatives. This same institution will also help administer the UPCAT to their respective applicants.
Furthermore, the following documents are also needed:
- A signed and completed application form
- Photocopies of the applicants’ high school grades or their transcript of records
- Written certification from the high school principal of the applicants’ honor roll status or their inclusion in the upper 5% of their graduating class
- Written certification of the applicants’ financial status (accomplished by the state) or a photocopy of their family’s previous year’s income returns.
- UPCAT, NSAT and English proficiency test results
- A single page typewritten essay that answers these questions:
- Why do you wish to study agriculture?
- What benefits will it provide for you and your country?
Applicants have their work cut out for them: the minimum weighted average per semester is 2.5 for a minimum of 15 academic units. No individual grade for any subject must drop below 2.75. Failure to meet these minimum grade requirements will automatically cancel the scholarship. The only exception to the 15 academic unit rule involves the applicants’ last college semester—then and only then may they take on less than the required academic load.
Grantees are responsible for submitting their grades to the scholarship committee for evaluation within one week after the final testing period at the end of every semester. They must first check with the committee and secure its approval before transferring schools, changing courses or dropping a subject. The very latter case will require consultation with a designated adviser. Nevertheless, the final decision of approving or disapproving the request lies with the committee.
Finally, the SYMS committee expects graduated grantees to coordinate with it at least once every two to three years regarding the progress of their intellectual pursuits.
For more inquiries, kindly contact Mr. Romeo Visperas at email@example.com.