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Ubusin ‘yan! Win Gatchalian wants CHED to spend P16-M budget for scholars’ needs

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Senator Win Gatchalian wants the P16 billion budget for Tertiary Education Subsidy (TES) be “fully utilized.”

He urged the Commission on Higher Education (CHEd) to ensure all 300,000 slots for the TES under the Free Higher Education Law or Republic Act 10931 “are filled up” before closing applications.

“Sana po ay siguruhin ng CHEd na mapuno muna nila lahat ng 300,000 slots para sa TES bago nila isara ang application period,” he said.

“Sayang naman ang P16 billion na budget ng TES kung hindi ito magagamit lahat.” Gatchalian said on Sunday.

He made the remark after CHEd extended its deadline for TES applications to October 30 after only receiving some 174,000 applications for TES benefits so far.

The original deadline for schools to submit applications was on September 30.

“Kung hindi pa rin mapupuno ang lahat ng slots sa October 30 ay sana i-extend pa ulit ito ng CHED hanggang sa makumpleto ‘yong buong 300,000,” he said.

Gatchalian also called on schools to intensify their information drive on the qualifications, requirements, and benefits of the TES so that more students would apply.

“Baka naman walang nag-aapply dahil hindi alam ng mga estudyante na qualified pala sila para sa programang ito o hindi nila alam ang mga benepisyong makukuha nila rito,” he said.

“Sa ngayon kasi napaka-kaunti pa lang ng nag-aapply considering na ‘yong sa 4Ps lang, 1.2 million na agad ang qualified na mag-apply,” he added.

The TES is separate from the free tuition scheme of state universities and colleges (SUCs) and local universities and colleges (LUCs).

It is designed to support the cost of tertiary education by providing allowances for books, transportation, boarding, and supplies, among others.

Students from SUCs, LUCs, private higher education institutions (HEIs), and technical-vocational education and training programs may avail of the TES.

However, they must first qualify under the existing admission and retention requirements or other screening and assessment procedures required by the program.

CHEd has previously stated it would prioritize students “who need the assistance most,” considering the limited number of slots.

The 300,000 slots will be prioritized for the following: Expanded Students’ Grants-in-Aid Program for Poverty Alleviation (ESGP-PA) continuing grantees; students enrolled in private HEIs in cities/municipalities with no SUC/LUC campus; and students included in the list of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).