A closer look into Adamson University’s Bridge Program
by Jane C. Mangalus
Epiphanies, being epiphanies, come when least expected. University President Fr. Gregorio L. Bañaga, Jr., C.M.’s is a case in point. Once in 2003, in one of the most frequented restaurants in the metropolis, he crossed paths with an undergraduate Adamsonian. The former student related that he had only one semester to go to finish his studies, but was not able to fulfill his dream due to financial difficulties.
Moved by that story, Fr. Gregg wished he could have done something for such a case. He recalled that he told himself then, “How many more students would suffer the same fate?” He felt helpless.
That encounter with a reluctant dropout proved serendipitous, however, for it formed the basis for the conceptualization of the Adamson University Bridge Program. The Bridge Program ‘aims to help senior or graduating students who may not be able to continue and finish their studies due to financial constraints. This fund is under the Open Scholarships which give support to financially challenged, but deserving students.’
In his last two birthday celebrations, Fr. Gregg has asked the community to give donations to the said project instead of gifts. Other administrators like Bro. Henry Escurel, C.M., Vice President for Academic Affairs, have encouraged the same gesture of support in their own birthday celebrations. In response, the Adamson community has been supporting this undertaking since 2006. Local- and foreign-based alumni have also pledged (and fulfilled) their support of the bridge program. Other industry partners and friends of the University have been tapped to strengthen the base of the program.
“There are about 30 fortunate students who have benefited from this program,’ reported Ms. Alice Quilicot, Director of the Office for Student Assistance and Scholarships (OSAS). OSAS has been assigned to screen applicants and monitor scholars under the Bridge Program. Applicants are asked to submit an application letter, bio-data, grades during the previous semester, and latest ITR of their parents or guardians.
Dean Naressia Ballena of the College of Nursing, shared how grateful one of her former students was with the Bridge Program. “During Fr. Gregg’s birthday, I learned that the University was offering such financial assistance. I informed students of my college regarding this. Ronald Galang, a nursing student, had been encountering financial constraints every time there was an examination, and he would seek all possible ways to get through every semester. When he was about to take the board exam, he sought help through the Bridge Program to cut the fees that he left unpaid to the University. A big portion was shouldered by the program.”
Though the program was originally and specifically intended to help graduating students only, Fr. Gregg mentioned that others may be accepted on a case-to-case basis. “Everything has to be in the form of a written communication,” the University President stressed. The applicant has to be thoroughly scrutinized to make sure his claim of financial difficulty is beyond doubt.
The Bridge Program may not be as big as the other scholarship grants that the University provides but the way it spans the financial gap experienced by some students have surely carried them a long, long way.