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SOURCE: Press and Public Affairs Bureau

Bill establishing voucher system for poor students in tertiary education approved
22 May 2023 06:06:42 PM

THE House of Representatives on Monday approved on third and final
reading a bill that will establish a voucher program for poor and
academically qualified students in private higher educational
institutions (HEIs) and technical-vocational institutions (TVIs).

Voting 265 against zero and four abstentions, the chamber approved House Bill (HB) No. 7922 which
would also revise some provisions of the Tertiary Education Subsidy
(TES) for students in public and private HEIs under Republic Act No.
10931 or the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act

“We are confident that with this proposed legislation, we will be able
to help poor but deserving students to continue and finish their
tertiary education. The House of Representatives has always committed
and will stay committed to passing bills that will best serve our
youth,” Speaker Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez said.

Some of the principal authors of the bill are Reps. Lani Mercado
Revilla, LRay Villafuerte, Salvador Pleyto, Manuel Jose M. Dalipe,
Jurdin Jesus Romualdo, Sonny Lagon, Daphne Lagon, Janette Garin,
Stella Luz Quimbo, Dante Garcia, Alfred Delos Santos, Bryan Revilla,
Ramon Jolo Revilla III, and others.

Under HB 7922, the Unified Student Financial Assistance System for
Tertiary Education (UniFAST) Board will administer a portable voucher
system that will allow beneficiaries to study in private HEIS and TVIs
in cities and municipalities where there are existing state
universities and colleges (SUCs), local universities and colleges
(LUCs), and public TVIs.

UniFAST will also determine the eligibility of students under the
voucher system, provided that students of private HEIs and TVIs who
are TES grantees can no longer qualify for the voucher system.

Meanwhile, the bill directs UniFAST to administer the TES and to
prioritize students who are part of households included in the updated
Listahanan 3 of the Department of Social Welfare and Development
(DSWD), ranked according to the estimated per capita household income,
and students not part of the Listahanan 3, ranked according to
estimated per capita household income based on the proof of income.

HB 7922 seeks to amend UAQTEA, a law that expanded and enhanced the
coverage of Free Tuition 2017. UAQTEA has four programs under it: (1)
Free Higher Education (tuition and miscellaneous fees) in SUCs and
CHED-recognized LUCs; (2) Free Technical-Vocational Education and
Training (TVET) in public and private institutions registered with
TESDA; (3) the TES or grants-in-aid for poor students in public and
private institutions; and (4) Student Loan Program (SLP) for tertiary
education students.

Under TES, beneficiaries would receive allowances for books, supplies,
transportation, and a reasonable allowance for the documented rental
or purchase of computers, and other education-related expenses, as
well as allowance for room and board costs to be incurred by the
student. (END)