Press Release
December 7, 2014

Sen. Pia: 'Iskolar ng Bayan' Act to democratize access to state universities
Newly signed law to offer scholarships to the top ten graduates of public high schools

Senator Pia S. Cayetano today said the top ten graduates of public high schools across the country would soon be eligible for scholarships to State Universities and Colleges (SUCs).

"Poverty should no longer pose an obstruction to entering college for the top graduates of our public high school system," according to Cayetano, as she welcomed the passage of the 'Iskolar ng Bayan' Act (Republic Act No. 10648).

The chairperson of the Senate Committee on Education, Arts and Culture, Cayetano sponsored and defended the landmark measure which President Benigno Aquino III signed into law last week. Its principal author in the Senate is Majority Leader Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano.

"The new law establishes the 'Iskolar ng Bayan' Program which seeks to democratize access to tertiary education funded by the State. It institutionalizes an incentives system for students who excel in their academics and rank within the top ten of their graduating class," she noted.

"For decades, the brightest students coming from the public high school system have been basically left on their own after graduation to apply and qualify for the university where they want to study in. This new law gives them the option to become a full-pledged State scholar and pursue the degree of their choice in any of our 112 SUCs."

"The program can actually work both ways as SUCs would also benefit from the opportunity to mentor the top graduates coming from the public high schools in their locality," she stressed.

Under Section 3 of RA 10648, academic scholarships shall be provided to the top ten of the graduating class of public high schools in the SUC they intend to enter, provided that they meet the admission requirements in the said institution.

The student must have taken the entrance examination in the chosen SUC, where he or she should have obtained a score designated by the latter as the minimum rating to qualify for the scholarship program.

The scholarship grant will cover the full amount of tuition and other school fees for the first year of college. Thereafter, the student beneficiary shall be covered by the regular student financial assistance and scholarship program of the Commission on Higher Education (CHEd).

The law further entitles a public high school with more than 500 graduates to one additional scholarship slot in SUCs for every 500 graduates. The additional slots shall then be given to graduates whose ranks immediately follow the top ten, and who will enrol in SUCs after meeting the admission requirements for freshmen.

Aside from the Iskolar ng Bayan Act, Cayetano earlier hailed the signing of RA 10647, the Ladderized Education Act of 2014, which would allow graduates of technical and vocational (tech-voc) courses to earn units for a college degree program.

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