Press Release
October 16, 2012


Senator Edgardo J. Angara reiterated that government should support both the students and the institutions in the private education sector to sustain them and act as safeguards against the rising cost of schooling in the Philippines.

To this end, Angara filed early September Senate Bill No. 3285 entitled "An Act Further Democratizing Educational Opportunities In Higher Education, Creating A Fund And A Loan Program For Students And Parents In Private Education, Appropriating Funds Therefor, And For Other Purposes."

Also known as the Fund for Assistance to Students and Parents in Higher Education, the bill seeks to establish a fund and loan program for needy students in college. It aims to support the vast majority of higher education students in the Philippines who choose to study in private institutions.

"A few decades ago, we extended support to private basic education institutions through GASTPE [Government Assistance to Students and Teachers in Private Education]. Now, in the midst of far-reaching educational reforms, I believe it is time to expand this support to private college and universities," explained Angara.

Angara, Chair of the Senate Committee on Education, Arts and Culture, explained that unlike SUCs which are subsidized by the government, private colleges and universities are totally dependent on tuition fees which are in turn shouldered by their students and their families.

The loan program proposed by this bill is divided into two categories: student loans made to students and paid directly to their school or college, and student loans made to parents and paid directly to the school. The loaned amounts shall be used to cover tuition and miscellaneous expenses, books and supplies, room and board, and transportation.

"Studies all over the world have already shown how getting a college degree or any other form of post-secondary education coincides with higher incomes and a better lease on life. Government must do what it can to expand this opportunity even further," said Angara.

The veteran lawmaker, who is also vice-Chair of the Senate Committee on Finance, explained that the proposal was essentially a better version of the "Study Now, Pay Later" program implemented years before.

Payments of loans granted to students will begin upon employment under viable payment options to be established by the program, while the higher-limit loans granted to parents shall be paid back immediately.

According to Angara, private and government agencies responded enthusiastically to the proposal during a recent Senate hearing to discuss K-12 financing.

PAGCOR has pledged P1 billion in the next few years for this loan and grant program. GSIS, SSS and DBP have also expressed interest on board.

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