Solon Intensifies Scholarship for Indigent High School Grads

Congressman Roman T. Romulo, chair, House committee on higher and technical education has expressed concern on the plight of indigent high school graduates who can not afford the cost of higher education. Thus, pushes for the implementation of Scholar ng Bayan Law, which caters to the indigent students to attain college education.

Romulo was in town over the weekend as guest speaker at the 36th commencement exercise of the Technological University of the Philippines (TUP)-Visayas at Talisay City, Negros Occidental.

He said, there are 1.4 to 1.6 million high school graduates in the country every year, wherein 400 thousand are from private high schools, of which 700 thousand goes to college. 50% of it or 350 thousand are graduates of public high schools and only 1/3 go to college. The main reason is poverty.

Hence, the scholar ng Bayan Law is addressing this problem wherein the top 10 graduates in every region are automatically enrolled in college for free.They do not need to undergo entrance examination.

Romulo has also other options for those who do not belong to the top 10 graduates. They may avail of the Unified Financial Assistance System for higher and technical education (UNIFAST), wherein the student has three options to avail of this benefit. The grants in aid, wherein the student must be Pilipino citizen, enrolled in college, all passing grades, and parents are indigents. There is no specific amount but the student will enjoy free tuition, books, transportation and allowances. Another UNIFAST scheme is loan, wherein the parents of the student beneficiary have no livelihood due to damage of natural calamaties. The last UNIFAST scheme is full scholarship, wherein the student beneficiary enjoy the scholarship, by exceeding not only in academics but also in other areas like sports, arts, and others.

UNIFAST board according to Cong. Romulo comprises the line agencies like Department of Education (DEPED), commission on Higher Education (CHED), Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), and National Economic Development Authority (NEDA).

Presently, there are 85 scholars ng Bayan at the TUP-V, Romulo said. Only few are availing of this program because several indigent students are not yet aware of this program. The only document needed by interested applicants are certification from the school where he/she graduated from the public high school, and certification stating that the student belongs to the top 10 graduates.*