Press Release
September 24, 2013

Villar Seeks to Intensify Financial Support to College Students
Villar's bill seeks to appropriate P1-billion to a student financial assistance program

Las Piñas Representative Mark A. Villar filed House Bill No. 2897 or 'An Act Establishing A Student Financial Assistance Program (StuFAP) For Students Of Economically Disadvantaged Families' to provide more financial support to poor but deserving college students.

"A college or university diploma is one of the best gifts that Filipino parents give to their children. Unfortunately, the rising costs of education have prevented many of them to send their children to school. We would like to help ease the burden of these poor families," said Villar.

The proposed StuFAP will be administered by an appropriate body to be determined by the Commission on Higher Education (CHED). Villar's bill also cites that term "economically disadvantaged but deserving students" who are qualified under the program shall mean those students of underprivileged families falling below the poverty line, as determined by the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), who are able and willing to continue and finish a degree course.

Based on latest available data from the National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB), the percentage of the population living below poverty line stood at 27.9% in the first semester of 2012. As per NSCB, a family of five family would need P7,821 to meet both food and non-food needs (such as clothing, housing, transportation, health, education) every month.

Villar also cite the unfortunate incident that took place in March this year, when Kristel Tejada, a 16-year-old student of behavioral science at the University of the Philippines (UP), committed suicide. Tejada was forced to take a leave of absence from her studies when her parents failed to pay the loan of P10,000 for her tuition fees.

"We don't want to send our college students to the brink of desperation or even suicide due to difficulty in raising money to pay for their education or studies. We don't want a repeat of suicide involving a college student or any student for that matter," said Villar.

Based on Villar's filed bill, the beneficiaries under the StuFAP program shall be entitled to a reasonable monthly stipend depending on costs of living in a particular educational institution, free tuition, book allowance and other miscellaneous fees to be determined by the administering agency.

Moreover, the bill proposes P1 billion to be appropriated initially from the national budget. CHED, in consultation with the Department of Education (DepEd), is authorized to formulate the rules and regulations to implement the said bill, once enacted.

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