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House panel approves Salceda’s universal access to tertiary education bill

The House committee on higher and technical education has approved last week a universal access to tertiary education bill that will afford Filipinos “equal opportunity to quality education in both private and public educational institutions.”
The measure, Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act of 2017 consolidates House Bill 2771 filed by Albay Rep. Joey Salceda, and similar bills filed by partylist Reps. Antonio Tinio (ACT) and Sarah Jane Elago (Kabataan), but adopted the title and major provisions of Salceda’s original bill.
The consolidated bill’s highlights include full funding of state universities and colleges (SUCs) with its proposed P38 billion budget and another P21.6 billion for other expenses; sufficient funding for Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) in Technical Vocational Institutes (TVI) run by Tesda (Technical Education and Skills Development Authority) with P6.7 billion, also from Salceda’s original version; Tertiary Education Subsidy, PI5 billion limited to Decile 1 to 5 students, for tuition and other expenses in accredited private HEIs, LUCs, SUCs and Tesda accredited TVIs, original provisions from the measures filed by Reps. Dakila Carlo Cua (Quirino) and Carlo Alexei Nograles (Davao City).
The measure also aims to provide such other mechanisms to increase the participation rate in tertiary education from all socio-economic classes; provide all 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 (NSLP), with a PI 5 billion allocation, limited to Decile 1 to 8, for tuition and other expenses in accredited HEIs and SUCs. The loan is payable upon gainful employment when gross the beneficiary’s income reaches the minimum critical threshold, and will be collected as additional percentage on top of his/her Social Security System or Government Service Insurance System premiums.

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