MANILA –The House of Representatives approved on Monday night the Universal Access to Tertiary Education Act, a measure that provides free tuition in state universities and colleges (SUCs) and state-run technical vocational institutions (TVIs).
The lower chamber passed House Bill 5633 with 221 lawmakers voting in favor of the bill, none voting against and none who abstained.
Among the key provisions of the bill include full funding of SUCs with its proposed Php 38-billion budget, and another Php 21.6 billion for other expenses.
Among others, the bill calls for sufficient funding for Technical Vocational Education and Training, or TVET, in TVIs run by TESDA with Php 6.7 billion.
It also offers a Tertiary Education Subsidy of Php 15 billion, limited to Decile 1 to 5 students, for tuition and other expenses in accredited private universities and colleges, SUCs and TESDA-accredited TVIs.
The measure aims to provide other mechanisms to increase the participation rate in tertiary education from all socio-economic classes; provide Filipinos with equal opportunities to quality education in both private and public educational institutions; give priority to academically able students from poor families; ensure optimized utilization of government resources in education; and recognize the complementary roles of public and private institutions in the tertiary educational system.
Its other salient features include the National Student Loan Program with a Php 15-billion allocation, limited to Decile 1 to 8, for tuition and other expenses in accredited HEIs and SUCs.
The loan is payable upon the beneficiary’s gainful employment after graduation when his/her gross income reaches the minimum critical threshold, and will be collected as additional percentage on top of his/her SSS or GSIS premiums.