Close to a thousand Private Higher Education Institution (HEI) leaders converged at the University of the Philippines Diliman-Bahay ng Alumni today to sign a Memorandum of Agreement with the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) – Unified Student Financial Assistance System for Tertiary Education (UniFAST) to implement the Tertiary Education Subsidy (TES) of Republic Act 10931.
The TES is one of the four major components of Republic Act 10931 also known as the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act (UAQTEA). It is a grants-in-aid program designed for poor students enrolled in public and private HEIs with a funding of PhP16 billion from the national government.
For AY 2018-2019, about 300,000 students stand to benefit from the TES, with benefits ranging from PhP40,000 to 60,000/year that covers tuition and other school fees, allowance for books, transportation, supplies, room and board fees and other education-related expenses.
The historic event was led by CHED and UniFAST Governing Board Chairman J. Prospero E. De Vera III and UAQTEA proponent Senator Sherwin T. Gatchalian, Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Secretary Fortunato dela Peña and private schools association giants: Dr. Pio D. Baconga, President of the Coordinating Council for Private Education Associations (COCOPEA); Fr. Joel E. Tabora, SJ, President of the Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines (CEAP); Dr. Lourdes Almeda-Sese, President of the Philippine Association of Private Schools, Colleges and Universities (PAPSCU), Dr. Horacio M. Montefrio, President of the Technical Vocational Schools & Association of the Philippines (TEVSAPHIL) and Dr. Caroline Marian S. Enriquez, President of the Philippine Association of Colleges and Universities (PACU).
In his welcome remarks, CHED Chairman Dr. J. Prospero E. De Vera III stressed the importance of the occasion, “It is historic because we (UniFAST Governing Board) have completed a task that looked almost impossible when the law was passed, …we’ve cracked our heads for the past couple of months for the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) and vetted the possible TES beneficiaries. And today, we will sign the Memorandum of Agreement to create the legal basis for the money to reach our poor but deserving students.”
“We have crafted the IRR, readied the implementing guidelines, received 1.1 million applications for the 300,000 slots and have now identified the 300,000 beneficiaries that will be assisted by government so they can complete their education,” De Vera added.
The CHED Chair also emphasized, “RA 10931 provides the mechanism for the complementation of public and private HEIs’ efforts to provide access to quality higher education. This joint effort between public and private HEIs will ensure that we will produce a more educated, better trained and highly employable workforce for the future.”
“Because we are giving stipends for the whole academic year, next year, we would only worry about the incoming freshmen, so the task is easier and with your help and support, we will make sure that the TES beneficiaries are identified earlier and the money is downloaded faster,” ends Chair De Vera.
Also present during the signing ceremony were CHED Commissioners Dr. Ronald L. Adamat and Dr. Lilian A. de las Llagas, and UniFAST Secretariat OIC Executive Director Atty. Carmelita P. Yadao-Sison.
The UniFAST Governing Board consists of the Chair of CHED as UniFAST Chair, the Director-General of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) and the Secretary of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) as Co-Chairs, the Secretary of the Department of Education (DepEd), representatives from the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), and the National Youth Commission (NYC) as members. The chair, co-chairs and members are with the UniFAST Board by virtue of their permanent positions in their respective offices/ departments.
J. PROSPERO E. DE VERA III, DPA
Commission on Higher Education