Graduating with high honors from the Ilocos Region campus of the Philippine Science High School (PSHS), 18 year-old Dominic Navarro has recently gone viral on social media for being PSHS’ cream of the crop who earned offers from prestigious universities in Germany and the United States.
It was both a rare feat and a dream come true for Navarro, who has always wanted to take up actuarial science abroad. Sadly, it is also a dream he would have to delay due to financial constraints.
In an exclusive video interview with Inquirer on Wednesday, Navarro shared that he forfeited his slot to the University of Wisconsin — Madison after failing to send his confirmation. According to him, the cost of attendance to the top research institution was pegged at around $55,000, or about P2.6 million. To secure his spot, Navarro had to deposit that amount by May 1.
As a means to augment the staggering amount, Navarro took to social media to start a “crowdfunding” effort. However, he only managed to rake in $35, or a scant P1,671, by the set deadline.
Navarro felt deep regret over the missed opportunity, but it was the reality: the San Ildefonso native who grew up in a middle-income family simply had no means to procure such a “whopping amount of money.”
“We tried to reach out to some government officials and agencies for scholarship grants, as well as with private companies [for tie-ups] but I was turned down,” he said to Inquirer.
Navarro applied to UWM to further develop his talents in science and technology, a field which he believes could benefit from government support and ample funding. In UWM’s acceptance letter to Navarro on April 2, the school praised the fresh graduate for having “demonstrated a commitment to academic excellence while contributing to their schools and communities.”
Navarro also bemoaned not only his own lost opportunity, but also those of many other young students just like him. He believes that the government should be more supportive of the youth’s dream to hone their skills abroad, as it’s our country that will ultimately reap the benefits.
“It [leaving the country for good] is a common misconception. I intend to come back after and apply in the country the opportunities I will be learning abroad.” Navarro said.
Moving forward, Navarro has chosen to pursue degree programs in mathematics or actuarial science offered by top local universities. However, he continues to hold onto his goal of honing his skills abroad in hopes of being of service to the country one day.