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GIVE STUDENTS LOANS FOR LIVING EXPENSES — LAPID

Senator Lito Lapid has filed Senate Bill No. 274 which seeks to establish the College Living Expenses Financing (CLEF) program to support higher studies of Filipino students of good academic standing.

The bill, once it becomes a law, will mandate the national government to set up a loan guarantee fund for student loans to be provided by the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) and the Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP).

The bill recognizes RA 10931 also known as the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act which provides for free tuition and exemption on other fees for students of state colleges and universities.

Lapid said that while this law significantly contributes to making quality education accessible to all, it must be noted that there are a lot more factors that hinder the attainment of this desired goal.

One such obstacle is the cost-of-living expenses and other education-related expenses which discourage qualified students in families below the poverty line to consider pursuing higher education.

“Kailangan na mabigyan sila ng pagkakataon na magkaroon ng pagkukunan ng pondo para sa kanilang tirahan, libro at iba pang gastusin habang nag-aaral sila.”

“Libre man ang tuition para sa ating mga estudyante, batid kong marami pa ring nahihirapan tumuloy sa kolehiyo dahil wala silang mapagkukunan ng pangtustos para sa kanilang pamumuhay habang nag-aaral. Mas ramdam pa lalo ang problemang ito ng mga estudyanteng galing sa malalayong lugar at kailangan pang magbyahe at lumipat para makapag-aral. Kailangan na mabigyan sila ng pagkakataon na magkaroon ng pagkukunan ng pondo para sa kanilang tirahan, libro at iba pang gastusin habang nag-aaral sila,” the veteran legislator explained.

The CLEF Program is a long-term personal loan program designed to provide for the living expenses of Filipino College students. The loan will cover the following expenses:

a. board and lodging

b. living allowance

c. transportation costs

d. food expenses

e. uniforms and personal clothing

f. books and supplies

g. internet and digital connectivity expenses

h. other miscellaneous expenses

The bill states that the CLEF program will be made available to all Filipino students who are either enrolled at the time of the effectivity of the Act, or admitted to enroll at any time thereafter, in courses leading to a bachelor’s degree in any higher educational institution accredited by the Commission on Higher Education (CHED).

Each eligible student shall be entitled to a maximum loan amount of P50,000 per semester and a maximum of P400,000 allowing for up to five years of college enrollments.

The loan shall have a maximum term of 25 years and interest rate lower than prevailing interest rate subject to the discretion of the disbursing financial institutions.

Amortizations shall also start one year from the date of graduation or the end of the last semester of enrollment.

“Karapatan ng bawat Pilipino ang mabigyan ng pagkakataon sa de-kalidad na edukasyon at karapatan din ng bawat estudyante na makatanggap ng lahat ng tulong na kayang ibigay ng gobyerno,” the senator said.

“Loan na mabilis sanang maibibigay sa bawat estudyanteng mag-aapply at loan na hindi mabigat oras na kailangan ng bayaran dahil maliit lamang ang magiging interes nito.”

“Malaking bagay na libre na ang tuition sa mga kolehiyo at unibersidad sa bansa pero batid nating bukod sa tuition marami pang pangangailangan ang mga college students para makatapos sa kanilang pag-aaral. Dito papasok ang loan na gusto ko sanang maisabatas para sa ating mga estudyante–loan na mabilis sanang maibibigay sa bawat estudyanteng mag-aapply at loan na hindi mabigat oras na kailangan ng bayaran dahil maliit lamang ang magiging interes nito,” he added.

According to the bill, the administration of the CLEF Program will be a shared responsibility of the (1) CHED– which shall process and endorse the loan application requirements of eligible students and (2) the disbursing financial institutions, which shall release the amounts based on an approved disbursement program agreed with the student.

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