MANILA 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 Commission on Higher Education (CHED)'s recent memorandum of agreement signing with 792 private institutions nationwide so that private college students would also benefit from the Free College Law or Republic Act 10931.
Of the PHP40 billion funding for the Free College Law this year, PHP16 billion was allotted for the Tertiary Education Subsidy (TES), wherein 300,000 student beneficiaries from public and private universities would receive up to PHP60,000 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.
A total of 13,760 of the beneficiaries are Expanded Students' Grants-in-Aid Program for Poverty Alleviation scholars 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 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 (many of our students in private universities need government assistance)," said Angara, one of the authors of the Free College Law.
Angara, finance committee vice chairman tasked to sponsor CHED's budget, said from PHP16 billion this year, the TES has a proposed budget of PHP27 billion for next year.
Aside from TES, Angara has also allotted PHP1 billion to help private school students who are not part of the beneficiaries of the Free College Law.
Angara said 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.
The senator said the law enabled students from low-income families to study in private schools.
"Under the Free College Law, hindi na dapat maging hadlang sa pamilya ang malaking gastusin para makapagtapos sa pag-aaral ang kanilang mga anak (the many costly expenses in school should not hinder families to allow their children to finish their studies)," he said. (PR)
Source: Philippines News Agency