Press Release
October 23, 2013


The sum of P1 billion shall be initially allocated from the General Appropriations Act (GAA) of the year following the enactment into law of the proposed measure seeking to give financial assistance to poor college students.

While there are existing scholarship programs for the specially gifted students, study grant for members of the National Cultural Communities and the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) scholarship program, Senator Cynthia A. Villar pointed out these programs provide only limited slots.

In filing SBN 298, otherwise known as "An Act Establishing A Student Financial Assistance Program For Students of Economically Disadvantaged Families and Authorizing The Appropriation Of Funds For The Purpose," Villar cited the absence of an ambitious government program that takes care of the mass of secondary level graduates.

Villar said her proposed measure targets high school graduates who want to pursue higher education but fail to do so since they are poor.

"For this reason, the bill on student financial assistance program is introduced to provide education assistance to secondary graduates who, because of poverty or financial difficulties, could not pursue higher education," said the new senator.

Villar said the educational assistance program is designated for students of financially disadvantaged families. She said it is intended more as an economic aid rather than a merit award.

Section 1 of SBN 298 said there shall be a student financial assistance program in the collegiate level to poor but deserving students to be administered by an appropriate body to be determined by the Commission on Higher Education.

The term "economically disadvantaged but deserving students" who are qualified under this 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.

Villar, who has been advocating for education, said the beneficiaries under this 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.

She said CHED, in consultation with the Department of Education, is authorized under the proposed measure, to formulate the rules and regulations to implement this Act.

In filing the bill, Villar cited the 1987 Constitution of the Philippines which provides that the State shall establish and maintain a system of scholarship grants, student loan programs, subsidize and other incentives which shall be available to deserving students on both public and private schools, especially to the underprivileged.

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