House approves free tertiary education bill

House Bill 5633 or the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act gets the unanimous approval of House members on third and final reading last May 22, 2017.
The said measure was a product of the consolidated 59 house bills filed by different House members including House Bill 5015 authored by Rep. Mark Go of Baguio City.
One of the key provisions of the approved measure is the exemption from the payment of tuition and other school fees of those who are currently enrolled or shall enroll in the future, in a bachelor’s degree course or any comparable undergraduate degree in any state universities and colleges (SUCs).
This will also provide free education to qualified students in post-secondary Technical-Vocational Education and Training (TVET) leading to non-degree certificate and diploma programs offered by any state-run Technical-Vocational Institute (TVI) under the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA).
“There will be an establishment of the Student Loan Program for Tertiary Education under this bill. This will also be allocated and administered by the Unified Student Financial Assistance System for Tertiary Education (UniFAST) Board. The appropriate amount shall be included in the annual appropriations of CHED and TESDA,” Go explained. “This will basically enhance and strengthen our existing law on UniFAST that would make the delivery and implementation of Student Assistance Financial Programs in the tertiary level more effective and efficient,” he added.
Last May 10, the substitute bill passed in the Committee on Appropriations and is currently in the Bicameral Conference Committee together with the Senate. The Bicameral Committee Report is expected to be ratified by both chambers before the adjournment of the 1st Regular Session of Congress.
“I really hope that this bill will be signed into law for this will materialize our noble intention of providing all Filipinos with equal opportunity to quality tertiary education in both the private and public educational institutions,” Go stressed. PR / ABN

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