More than 27,000 students enrolled in 18 local colleges in the Bicol Region now benefit from programs under the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act of 2017 or Republic Act 10931 particularly the Free Higher Education (FHE) and Tertiary Education Subsidy (TES).
Commission on Higher Education (CHED) and Unified Student Financial Assistance System for Tertiary Education (UniFAST) Board Chairman J. Prospero E. De Vera III led the Gawad Parangal rites for 18 local colleges at the New Blossoms Convention Hall in Tagas, Daraga, Albay. He was accompanied by Albay 2nd District Representative Joey Salceda, CHED Commissioner Aldrin Darilag, UniFAST OIC Executive Director Ryan Estevez and CHEDRO V Regional Director Freddie Bernal.
The 16 local universities and colleges (LUCs) that have fully complied with CHED requirements include:
- Aroroy Municipal College
- Donsol Community College
- Governor Mariano E. Villafuerte Community Colleges – Garchitorena
- Governor Mariano E. Villafuerte Community Colleges – Libmanan
- Governor Mariano E. Villafuerte Community Colleges – Siruma
- San Pascual Polytechnic College
- Baao Community College
- Calabanga Community College
- City College of Naga
- Daraga Community College
- Libon Community College
- Ligao Community College
- Oas Community College
- Polangui Community College
- San Jose Community College
- Tiwi Community College
Two LUCs – Caramoan Community College and Community College of Manito have acquired the needed Certificate of Program Compliance (COPC) and are being evaluated for their institutional recognition (IR).
Under RA 10931, LUCs are required to have both IR and a COPC so their students can avail of the FHE, TES, Tulong Dunong, and the Student Loan Program. The 16 LUCs have complied with both IR and COPC and their students are assured of the benefits under RA 10931. In the academic year 2020-2021, more than 27,000 students no longer pay tuition and miscellaneous fees and an additional 3,000 students get TES in the Bicol Region.
In his speech, De Vera told the LUCs, “You can now tell the whole world that you provide quality education, but what you get today is just the first step in your continuing journey as a higher education institution, for the road ahead is more challenging because of the pandemic.”
According to De Vera, CHED is now exploring how to further assist LUCs through institutional grants, scholarships for their faculty, and university to university linkages. He encouraged LUCs to develop linkages with state universities and colleges (SUCs) to improve their degree offerings and share faculty.
Albay 2nd District Rep. Joey Salceda who spoke at the awards ceremony said, “If we will truly pursue universal access to higher education, we must support community colleges that typically cater to the poorest and most underserved segments of the enrolled population.”
J. PROSPERO E. DE VERA III
CHED and UniFAST Board