January 26, 2017
Legarda Pushes for Swift Passage of Free Tuition Bill for SUCs
Senator Loren Legarda supports the immediate passage of a bill that seeks to institutionalize the provision of full tuition fee subsidy for students enrolled in all of the country's 114 state universities and colleges (SUCs).
In her co-sponsorship speech on Senate Bill No. 1304, or the proposed Free Higher Education for All Act, Legarda underscored the need to pass a law that will set out mechanisms and guidelines by which the funding for free tuition, already appropriated for this year, will be utilized.
"We have already funded the free tuition fee for SUCs students through the 2017 General Appropriations Act (GAA). However, mindful of the government's limited resources, we must also ensure that public funds will be used equitably and serve first the poorest of the poor. This bill seeks to ensure that such funds are managed efficiently," said Legarda, Chair of the Senate Committee on Finance.
The Senator explained that P5.7 billion has been allocated for the Commission on Higher Education's (CHED's) Student Financial Assistance Programs (StuFAPs), which cover both the Regular StuFAPs, such as its Scholarship Program, Grants in Aid Program and Student Loan Program, and other StuFAPs like the Tulong Dunong and the Iskolar ng Bayan program, under the 2017 GAA.
Moreover, an additional P8 billion has been appropriated for the CHED's Higher Education Support Fund while another P300 million has been approved to serve as Cash Grants to Medical Students enrolled in the country's SUCs offering the Doctor of Medicine Program.
"We have the ability and influence to shape the future of our children and the generations to come. Hence, I urge my colleagues to lend their valuable support so we can enact the best possible version of this bill as we seek to uphold the Constitutional mandate that education shall be the State's highest priority in terms of allocation of resources," Legarda concluded.
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