Government agencies like the Commission on High Education (CHED) may have to “sacrifice” their scholarship programs and allow realignment of funds for the implementation of the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act starting next year, said Davao City first district representative Karlo Alexei Nograles.
Nograles, chairman of the appropriations committee of the House of Representatives, said government will have to prioritize its scholarship program in state colleges and universities (SUCs) next year.
“Mao na atong gitan-aw kun duna pa ba ta’y pondo para niini. Kun mapadayon pa ba ang sama sa scholarship program sa CHED, pero mas maayo kung i-punon o i-focus nalang ang funding sa libre nga pag-eskwela (This is now the focus of our study. We are trying to determine if the national government can still fund the scholarship programs of CHED, but I think it would be best if we focus our resources on the free education program),” said Nograles who was in Cebu on Friday to attend the graduation of Jobstart program beneficiaries held at Skills Multipurpose Area-Skills Campus along General Maxilom Avenue, Cebu City.
On August 4, President Rodrigo Duterte signed Republic Act 10931 which grants full government subsidy to tuition in SUCs.
Nograles said its Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) is expected to be complete within the month.
Aside from waiving tuition and miscellaneous fees in SUCs, the law will also allow students to avail of a loan program while those who belong to low income bracket families can avail of tertiary education subsidy from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).
Program beneficiaries can also avail of Cost of Living Allowance (Cola) and board and uniform allowances.
But Nograles warned that free tuition program beneficiaries will have to undergo extensive screening to make sure that only qualified students get government subsidy.