By Merlina Hernando-Malipot
No state universities and colleges (SUCs) or local universities and colleges (LUCs) in your area?
The Commission on Higher Education (CHED) assured deserving students who are enrolled in Philippine private Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) that they will also benefit under Republic Act 10931 or the “Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act.”
Through the Tertiary Education Subsidy (TES) under Free Higher Education which aims to help students in private colleges and universities avail free education. The TES, CHED said, is a program under the landmark legislation.
During the RA 10931 Northern Mindanao/ARMM leg of the Nationwide Information Caravan on RA 10931 at the Limketkai Center in Cagayan de Oro City recently, CHED and the Unified Assistance System for Tertiary Education (UniFAST) highlighted the benefits of the TES.
UniFAST Secretariat officer-in-charge executive director Atty. Carmelita Yadao-Sison discussed the TES program, which prioritizes support to students from the poorest of the poor households. “TES program will prioritize students who are existing beneficiaries of the CHED Expanded Student Grants-in-Aid Program for Poverty Alleviation (ESGP-PA), and students considered as poor based on the National Household Targeting System or Listahanan 2.0,” she said.
Yadao-Sison said the TES prioritization system “shall not apply to Filipino students in cities and municipalities with no existing SUCs or CHED-recognized LUCs.”
The TES, considered as grants-in-aid, will cover students in both private and publics HEIs and has three categories: TES 1 which covers tuition and other school fees in private schools; TES 2 which covers living allowance and educational supplies and materials; and TES 3 which provides additional support for students with disabilities and/or those in courses required to undergo licensure exams.
Based on UniFAST’s estimate, at least 1.2-million students are potential eligible TES beneficiaries just among 16-22 years old high school graduate students without tertiary degree belonging to Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) households, this coming academic year.
Meanwhile, UniFAST governing board member Dr. Pio Baconga that the law is not just for students in SUCs and LUCs. “Providing quality education is the duty of the government,” he said.
Baconga, who also serves as the president of Coordinating Council of Private Educational Associations of the Philippines (COCOPEA) and of the Pilgrim Christian College, said “the Implementing Rules and Regulations (of the law) recognizes the complementary roles of public and private institutions. The TES is where the private institutions can come in.”
COCOPEA is composed of five private educational associations: Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines (CEAP), Association of Christian Schools, Colleges and Universities (ACSCU), Philippine Association of Colleges and Universities (PACU), Philippine Association of Private Schools, Colleges and Universities (PAPSCU), and Technical Vocational Schools Association of the Philippines (TEVSAPHIL).