Senator Sonny Angara has called on the government to ensure that poor students will benefit from the subsidy that will cover not only tuition but also other school expenses as mandated by the Free College law.

Angara has lauded the Unified Student Financial Assistance System for Tertiary Education (UniFAST) Board for finally coming up with the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) for Republic Act 10931 or the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act.

“Our students can finally enjoy the benefits under the free college law starting next school year. Bukod sa libreng matrikula at miscellaneous fees, may dagdag tulong pinansyal ito para sa mga mahihirap na mag-aaral para sa gastusin sa mga libro, pamasahe, dorm, at iba pa,” said the veteran legislator, author of both the Free College law and the UniFAST law.

RA 10931, with an initial funding of P40 billion, covers the tuition, miscellaneous and other school fees of students enrolled in 112 state universities and colleges (SUCs), 78 local universities and colleges (LUCs), and all technical-vocation education and training (TVET) programs registered under the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority.

The law requires SUCs, LUCs and TVET institutions to formulate and implement affirmative action programs to enhance access of disadvantaged students, such as Lumads, Muslims, and other indigenous peoples; persons with disabilities; students from public schools; and students from depressed areas.

The youthful senator stressed the provision that creates a Tertiary Education Subsidy which will cover the allowance for books, supplies, transportation, room and board, personal computer or laptop, and other education-related personal expenses of poor students.

The subsidy will also provide financial support for the tuition and other fees of poor students enrolled in private colleges and universities.

The subsidy will also provide financial support for the tuition and other fees of poor students enrolled in private colleges and universities.

Students included in the Listahanan will be prioritized as eligible beneficiaries of the subsidy, which shall be managed by the UniFAST Board.

“Ang tuition ay maliit na bahagi lamang ng kabuuang cost of college education. Dapat ay sagutin din ng gobyerno ang iba pang gastusin sa pag-aaral upang higit na matulungan ang ating mahihirap na estudyante na makapagtapos ng kolehiyo,” he said.

Angara has filed bills granting 20% student fare discount, as well as five-percent student discount on food, medicine, books and school supplies, to underprivileged students in all levels.

The Commission on Higher Education (CHED) said it is set to present the implementing rules of RA 10931 on March 26 as the IRR is still being signed by appropriate agencies.


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