The Unified Financial Assistance System for Tertiary Education Act, or UniFAST — also known as Republic Act No. 10687 — was signed into law in 15 October last year.The Unified Financial Assistance System for Tertiary Education Act, or UniFAST — also known as Republic Act No. 10687 — was signed into law in 15 October last year.UniFAST reconciles, improves, strengthens, expands, and puts under one body all government-funded modalities of Student Financial Assistance Programs (StuFAPs) for tertiary education – and special purpose education assistance – in both public and private institutions. These modalities include scholarships, grants-in-aid, student loans and other specialized forms of StuFAPs formulated by the UniFAST Board.
The UniFAST law – and its Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) – are intended to make the implementation of StuFAPs in the tertiary level more effective, efficient, and politically-neutral or free of political labeling.
“Tertiary Education” follows secondary education or high school. It includes post-secondary non-degree diploma, Technical-Vocational Education and Training (TVET) and higher education programs like baccalaureate degrees (college) and graduate education (master’s, Ph.D., etc.).
Special Purpose Education Assistance
“Special Purpose Education Assistance” refers to research and scientific studies in the college and masteral/doctoral level funded by StuFAPs. It includes funding assistance for the following:
Writing and publication of books, manuscripts, theses, dissertations, scientific and technical journals
Production, filming and documentation (through digital technology) of research and studies
Development of instructional and academic materials, and science models
The UniFAST Board
The UniFAST 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.
The various StuFAP operationalizations which UniFAST coordinates are implemented by CHED, TESDA and the following departments: DOST, DOLE, Department of Social Work and Development (DSWD), Department of National Defense (DND), Department of Agriculture (DA), the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR); the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP); both Houses of Congress, and other government instrumentalities such as the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP), among others.
The government financial institutions (GFIs) implementing the StuFAPs include Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP), Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP), Government Service Insurance System (GSIS), and the Social Security System (SSS).
Visit Official UniFAST Facebook Page.
The Commission on Higher Education (CHED) welcomes the passage of the Unified Student Financial Assistance System for Tertiary Education (UniFAST) through Republic Act No. 106871 which was signed on October 15 by President Benigno S. Aquino III. The Commission hails it as a Landmark Social Legislation of the Administration benefiting Filipino youth.
Designed to unify all modalities of publicly-funded Student Financial Assistance Programs (StuFAPs)—Scholarships, Grants-in-Aid and Student Loans—for Tertiary Education, the UniFAST rationalizes the allocation, utilization and client-targeting of government resources and improves access to quality higher and technical education for those who need it. It shall also serve as the ultimate national human resource development mechanism and strategy that will direct beneficiaries to priority courses needed for economic growth and development. Further, it insulates any StuFAPs modality from political labeling or partisan affiliation.
The idea of a harmonized financial assistance program emerged more than five years ago as a proposal of the NEDA-Social Development Committee, but the real work took place in 2013 after a comprehensive study was conducted by the Philippine Institute of Development Studies. CHED’s current Higher Education Reform Agenda, which deemed UniFAST a priority strategy for access, gave the necessary impetus. The Commission provided continuous technical assistance to both the Lower and Upper Houses of Congress in the formulation and eventual enactment of the Law.
The UniFAST will be governed by a Board composed of the heads of CHED, DOST and TESDA as co-chairs, with the head of DepEd and representatives from DOLE, NEDA and NYC as members. The Board, with the support of a technical secretariat, will ensure program sustainability and safeguard student welfare. It will see to it that standard-setting, client- targeting, fund allocation and prioritization are based on supply/demand situations, prices and inflationary factors, the government human resources development plan and current trends in internationally-shared human resources.
Issued this 21st day of October 2015 at the Higher Education Center Building, C.P. Garcia Avenue, Diliman, Quezon City.