Even with free tuition in public universities and colleges, Senator Sonny Angara is pushing for the expansion of scholarship grants to students enrolled in private higher education institutions.
Angara has lauded the recent memorandum of agreement between the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) and 792 private institutions from all over the country for the granting of free tuition and support for private college students under the Free College Law or Republic Act 10931.
Of the P40 billion funding for the Free College Law this year, P16 billion was allotted for the Tertiary Education Subsidy (TES), where 300,000 student beneficiaries from both public and private universities will receive up to P60,000 per academic year for their tuition and other school expenses.
Of the 300,000 slots, 151,819 are from the “Listahanan”–where 103,373 are students from public universities while 48,436 are from private universities.
Meanwhile, some 13,760 of the beneficiaries are Expanded Students’ Grants-in-Aid Program for Poverty Alleviation scholars that were previously under the Department of Social Welfare and Development.
The third category of grantees are the 80,196 students in private universities among cities and municipalities where there are no state universities and colleges (SUCs) or local universities and colleges (LUCs).
CHED chairman Dr. Prospero De Vera noted that there are still at least 30,000 slots to be filled up by student-beneficiaries mostly from private universities as they continue to validate the application.
“While more than 1.3 million students from SUCs and LUCs are assured of free college education, marami pa rin sa ating mga mag-aaral sa mga pribadong unibersidad ang nangangailangan ng tulong mula sa gobyerno,” said the seasoned legislator, one of the authors of the Free College Law.
“More than 1.3 million students from state universities and colleges (SUCs) and local universities and colleges (LUCs) are assured of free college education.”
The veteran lawmaker, finance committee vice chairman tasked to sponsor CHED’s budget, said that from P16 billion this year, the TES has a proposed budget of P27 billion for next year.
Aside from TES, the senator has also allotted P1 billion to help private school students who are not part of the beneficiaries of the Free College Law.
He said that providing funds for private schools through student scholarship programs is a great way to give back to the institutions that provided outstanding education to Filipino students at a time when the government had no funds.
This is also what his father, the late Senate President Edgardo Angara, had in mind when he authored the Government Assistance to Students and Teachers in Private Education Act or GASTPE Law in the 1990s.
Angara said the law enabled students from low-income families to study in private schools.
“The law enabled students from low-income families to study in private schools.”
“Sa Free College Law, hindi na dapat maging hadlang sa pamilya ang malaking gastusin para makapagtapos sa pag-aaral ang kanilang mga anak,” he said.