THE Tertiary Education Subsidy (TES) is another program under the Free Education Law or Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act of 2017 (RA 10931) which provides financial assistance to poor but deserving students in tertiary education.
The TES is established for all Filipino students who shall enroll in undergraduate post-secondary programs of state colleges and universities (SUCs), local universities and colleges (LUCs), private higher education institutions (PHEIs) and technical-vocational institutions (TVIs).
The TES shall be administered by the Unified Student Financial Assistance System for Tertiary Education (UniFAST) Board.
UniFAST refers to the harmonized, state-run and administered system of higher education and technical-vocational scholarships, grants-in-aid, student loans, and other modalities of student financial assistance program under RA 10687.
Students included under the TES prioritization program are students who are part of households included in the Listahan 2.0 ranked according to the estimated per capita household income and students who are not part of the Listahan 2.0 ranked according to estimated per capita household income based on submitted documentation of proof of income to be determined by the UniFAST Board.
The Listahan 2.0 or National Household Targeting System for Poverty Reduction refers to the information management of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) that identifies who and where the poor are in the country. Prioritization shall not apply to Filipino students in cities and municipalities with no existing SUCs or LUCs campus.
The TES maycover the following:
-Tuition and other school fees in private HEIs and private or LGU operated TVIs which shall be equivalent to the tuition and other school fees of the nearest SUC or state run TVI in their respective areas;
-An allowance for books, supplies, transportation, and miscellaneous personal expenses including a reasonable allowance for the documented rental or purchase of a personal computer or laptop and other education related expenses;
-An allowance for room and board costs incurred by the student;
-For a student with disability, an allowance for expenses related to the student’s disability including special services, personal assistance, transportation, equipment, and supplies that are reasonably incurred; and
For a student in a program requiring professional license or certification, the one (1) time cost of obtaining the first professional credentials or qualification which may include the application fees, notarial fees, review classes fees, insurance premium fees, and documentation fees based on the guidelines set forth by the UniFAST Board and on the annual budgetary appropriation for this purpose.
Furthermore, to support poor but deserving students in tertiary education a student loan program shall likewise be established for all Filipino students who shall enroll in a SUC, LUC, private HEI and TVET program in all TVIs registered under the TESDA.
The loan program shall be administered by the UniFAST Board. Those who availed of the loan during their undergraduate degree may still avail of another cycle of student loan for their pursuit of graduate studies including medicine and law upon paying full the previously availed loan.
Those who did not avail of the loan program during their undergraduate studies may avail of it to pursue graduate studies including medicine and law. Those who did not avail of the loan program during their undergraduate studies may avail of the loan program for their review expenses for licensure examinations administered by the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC).
Traditionally in this country, obtaining tertiary education is a key to success in life and a better living. Studies showed that 40% of high school graduates did not proceed to college due to the high cost of tertiary education. Hence, RA 10931 was signed into law declaring unlawful for any person, SUC, LUC and state run TVI to collect tuition and other school fees from qualified students except those students who voluntarily opt out of the tuition and other school fees subsidy or make a contribution to the school.Again RA 10931 is a lasting legacy from President Rodrigo Roa Duterte missed by the other presidents in the past.