Financially challenged students stand to benefit from the proposed free tuition in state colleges and universities (SUCs), according to Sen. Bam Aquino.
Sen. Bam is the principal sponsor of Senate Bill No. 1304 or the “Free Higher Education for All Act”, which is currently being tackled in the plenary.
“Matutulungan ng panukalang ito ang mga estudyanteng gustong makatapos ng kolehiyo ngunit nakararanas ng problemang pinansiyal,” said Sen. Bam, chairman of the Committee on Education.
In most cases, Sen. Bam said the parents of these students are regular employees, who are having a hard time making ends meet for the needs of their families due to meager salaries.
Sen. Bam added there are some students who work part-time to sustain their educational needs, such as tuition fees and other school expenses.
The senator cited the cases of Mary Ann Valimento and Cherry Mae Cabillo, who were among those interviewed by his office as case studies for the measure.
A business administration student at Bulacan State University, Valimento is having a hard time paying her tuition and other school fees after her father suffered a stroke and had to stop working.
A 3rd-year IT student at Philippine State College of Aeronautics, Cabillo was forced to drop out of school due to her parents’ lack of financial capability, with her father working as farmer and her mother a plain housewife.
“Ilan lang sila sa napakaraming estudyante na kulang sa pinansiyal na kakayahan na dapat nating tulungan para magkaroon ng tsansa sa magandang buhay,” Sen. Bam stressed.
According to data from Philippine Association of State Universities and Colleges (PASUC), around 77 percent of students from majority of SUCs come from a family earning minimum wage income or less.
Furthermore, the Annual Poverty Indicator Survey (APIS) 2014 report indicated that up to 71 percent of students in SUCs come from families with monthly family income of approximately P29,000 or less, and are struggling to send their children to school.
Earlier, Sen. Bam countered the position of several government agencies that the measure is anti-poor, saying the government must invest in education for the youth.
Along with Sen. Bam, other authors of the measure are Sens. Ralph Recto, Joel Villanueva, Sherwin Gatchalian, Francis Pangilinan, Sonny Angara, Loren Legarda, Leila de Lima, Cynthia Villar, Juan Miguel Zubiri and Richard Gordon.