Issue of June 10, 2018
Mt. Province

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6 Cordillera HEIs to offer free education through UniFAST
by Pamela Mariz Geminiano / PNA

Around 30,000 indigenous peoples in the Cordillera will benefit from the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act of 2017, the regional office of the Commission on Higher Education said.

CHED-Cordillera Officer-in-Charge Ma. Geraldine Casipit said that Republic Act 10931, also known as the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education, will benefit the six major state universities and colleges (SUCs) in the region.

They are the Ifugao State University, Mountain Province State Polytechnic College, Kalinga State University, Benguet State University, Abra State Institute of Science and Technology, and Apayao State College.

Casipit said residents who are not financially capable of sending their ward to study in urban centers now have an option to enroll them in SUCs.

At least 5,000 students can be accommodated in each of the SUCs in the region, but on certain conditions, Casipit said.

“It depends if an applicant passes the SUC’s admission requirements, carrying capacity, as well as retention policy,” she said.

Casipit added the Department of Social Welfare and Development is coming up with a list of students, who could avail themselves of free college education.

“They will be checking the enrollees and make sure that those who can avail are classified as poorest of the poor,” she said.

“We are appealing to our media partners and friends to help us disseminate this information, to help us inform the lower class of our society that they can go to school despite their poverty.”

Over the weekend, Student Financial Assistance System (UniFAST) conducted an information caravan in the city to inform the public of the free college education in SUCs.

Lawyer Carmelita Yadao-Sison, UniFAST officer-in-charge, said earlier there are 112 SUCs and 78 local universities and colleges (LUCs) all over the country, but the priority of the law are the indigent students in SUCs.

LUCs are CHED-recognized higher education institutions established by the local government units.

Casipit said the national government has allotted P40 billion for the free college education in SUCs, but the actual allocation would depend on the number of the enrollees who pass the admission policy of each SUC.

In his recent visit in Mountain Province as guest speaker at the 47th commencement exercises of the MPSPC, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque informed parents that President Rodrigo Duterte had ordered the allocation of funds for the free college education in SUCs. The fund will cover the tuition and miscellaneous fees of the students.

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