Press Release
August 2, 2013


Senator Juan Edgardo "Sonny" Angara has filed a bill that would grant free college entrance examinations to graduating high school students and college entrants applying for admission in all state colleges and universities (SUCs) as well as to those underprivileged students belonging to the top 10 percent of their graduating class who want to be admitted to private colleges and universities.

Senate Bill No. 62 effectively aims "to ensure that poor but deserving high school graduates are given equal chance in applying for college admission by removing the very first hindrance at the entry level, which is the high cost of entrance examinations."

For the more than 110 SUCs throughout the country alone, the proposed measure, if passed into law, will stand to benefit more than 1.5 million students aspiring to be admitted as freshmen.

"The big challenge for the government is really how to narrow the gap between the rich and the underprivileged," said the lawmaker, citing data from the National Statistics and Coordination Board that more than 26.5 percent or 3.8 million Filipino families are living below the poverty line.

Based on statistics from the Commission on Higher Education, out of 100 Grade 1 pupils, only 66 finish Grade 6 and only 58 of them enroll in first year high school. Of the 58, only 43 finish high school.

However, only 23 of the 43 who finished high school enroll in college and only 14 of the 23 eventually graduate from college.

Angara lamented the fact that even enrollment in SUCs shows a decelerating trend, weakening to negative 1.2 percent growth in 2004-2005, despite the cheaper cost of public education.

"How can you expect families with limited financial capacity to send their children to college if they do not even have the means to pay for the entrance examination fees," Angara stressed, while adding:

"If we are to develop as a nation, we must invest in education."

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