CITY OF SAN FERNANDO -- The Unified Student Financial Assistance System for Tertiary Education (UniFAST) of the Commission on Higher Education Regional Office (CHED)-Central Luzon on Tuesday, October 9, continues to provide Filipinos access to educational opportunities by updating 12 state universities and colleges (SUCs) on Republic Act 10931 education programs during a forum at Otel Pampanga here.
Ched’s UniFAST is the government agency in charge of implementing RA 10931, also known as the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act.
Carmelita Yadao-Sason, Officer-in-Charge and Executive Director IV of Ched UniFAST, discussed three programs of RA 10931 that consists of free higher education (FHE), student loan program (SLP), and tertiary education subsidy (TES), which are all under the administration of CHED.
RA 10931 has a total of four programs that also include the free technical-vocational education and training (TVET) program, which is led by the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) Technological Institutions (TTIs), and other centers.
For a quick preview, TVET gives free training and other training-related expenses such as NC assessment and certification, living allowance, and starter tool kits to enrolees in TESDA-registered TVET program, subject to admission, and retention policies of the training providers.
Based on the data given by CHED, SUCs and CHED-recognized local universities and colleges (LUCs) will provide FHE to all Filipino undergraduate beneficiaries who are eligible under the admission and retention policies of SUCs and LUCs and are pursuing a 1st Bachelor's Degree. These students would receive subsidies on free tuition, miscellaneous and other school fees.
The SLP program also covers all Filipino students enrolled in SUCs, CHED-recognized LUCs, private higher education institutions (HEIs), and technical-vocational institutions (TVIs), which all offer short and long term loans.
Based on the IRR for distribution, the short term loan give benefits to registered students of tertiary education who need to pay their loans within a period no longer than one academic year, such as undergraduate studies, review expenses for licensure examinations, and graduate studies that include medicine and law, while the long term loan will commence once the beneficiary secures any gainful employment with compensation, remuneration, or earnings that reach the Compulsory Repayment Threshold (CRT), which shall be set and periodically reviewed by the UniFAST Board.
Undergraduate student beneficiaries, who are enrolled in the TES program and their program, post-in secondary TESDA-registered TVET programs, and Department of Social Welfare and Development’s information management system, Listahanan 2.0, will be getting free tuition and other fees for private HEIs, other educational expenses, and if necessary, special expenses.
Public school students will each obtain P40,000 while students in private schools will each get P60,000 in the said program, which has a total of prepared 300,000 slots.
Applications submitted by LUCs and SUCs to the TES portal will be closed on October 30.
Sason stated that her people are dedicated, competent and young and the program is a very important benefit for all Filipinos, whose burdens are carried by the state.
“Please continue to support these programs. Make your officials understand that this is a good program by giving enough funds because we really felt it working,” Sason said.
CHED-3 Director Dr. Caridad Oli Abuan said that with all of these privileges given by the government, all students will certainly now be able to finish their studies.
“If people want to see a great impact, particularly to the poor, they have to take a look at it in this way. Due to these programs, students will now be able to study and not worry about fees, allowances and other things they need for their schooling. We will help theim in their present and possibly their future needs,” Abuan said.