Senator Loren Legarda hailed the Senate’s approval of the bicameral conference committee report on the proposed Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act.
Legarda, co-sponsor of the bill, said that the measure institutionalizes the provision of full tuition fee subsidy for students enrolled in all of the country’s state universities and colleges (SUCs), local universities and colleges (LUCs) and in state-run technical-vocational institutions.
“One of the long-standing concerns of poor families is bringing their children to college because after finishing high school in public schools, most of them have no means to pay for tuition fee in SUCs. We addressed this concern in the 2017 budget. Now, we are a step away from making it permanent,” said the veteran legislator, Chairperson of the Senate Committee on Finance.
Under the bill, students in SUCs, LUCs, and state-run technical-vocational institutions are also exempt from paying other school fees such as admission fees, laboratory fees, computer fees, and the like.
“With the passage of this bill, we will be legislating in effect the system or mechanism by which the funding for free tuition, already appropriated for this year, will be utilized. This is a huge step towards ensuring universal access to education,” the seasoned lawmaker said.
In the 2017 national budget, Congress provided for an additional Php8 billion for CHED’s Higher Education Support Fund and Php300 million for Cash Grants to Medical Students enrolled in the country’s SUCs offering the Doctor of Medicine Program.
The 2017 national budget also includes funding worth Php5.7 billion for the CHED’s Student Financial Assistance Programs (StuFAPs) which covers both the Regular StuFAPs such as its Scholarship Program, Grants in Aid Program and Student Loan Program and Other StuFAPs like the Tulong Dunong and the Iskolar ng Bayan Program.