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CHED, DBP agree to implement loan program for college students

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The Commission on Higher Education (CHED) on Wednesday signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) for the full implementation of the Student Loan Program for Tertiary Education-Short Term Basis (SLPTE-ST).

“The partnership between CHED-UNIFAST (Unified Student Financial Assistance System for Tertiary Education) and DBP is the final component of RA 10931 to help needy students pursue undergraduate and graduate studies in public and private schools by providing them short term loans for their education needs,” said CHED chair J. Prospero de Vera III in his speech at the MOA signing.

SLPTE-ST is one of the programs under the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act with a PHP1-billion fund for academic year 2018-2019.

Through the loan program, CHED and DBM seek to provide timely and automated disbursement requirements for the UAQTEA’s SLPTE-ST and other scholarships, grants and financial assistance programs.

Students enrolled in state colleges, universities and CHED-recognized local colleges and universities, and private higher education institutions listed in the UNIFAST Registry of Institutions and Programs can avail of it.

“The main beneficiaries of this will be students in private universities, because in public universities there are no more tuition and miscellaneous,” de Vera said.

He added that the student loan may also be used for books; complementary education related equipment, tools and supplies; cost of tertiary education allowance or stipend; and review expenses for licensure examinations administered by the Professional Regulation Commission.

“This is not just for paying tuition, not only for undergraduates, this is open also to those in graduate school and then for the immediate needs like before your licensure exam you need to borrow money because you’re going to write a thesis,” he said.

De Vera clarified that they will “not be operating the loan program from scratch” and that the students will pay their loans while they are studying.

“(We’re) tapping it to the existing financial assistance programs of the universities, the students of those universities already know where to go, where to apply. The effect of this we will be increasing the amount of money that is available for students…on the first year of implementation, we do university-based, short term student loan program only, a loan program which many universities are already running and they are running it well,” he said.

Meanwhile, DBP executive vice president Fe Susan Prado said they are honored to partner with CHED and UNIFAST in the implementation of the student loan program.

“We will be using a Direct Remittance Servicing System where there’ll be an opening of regular savings account by the student beneficiaries with no initial deposit, no maintaining balance, there’s an ATM card that they can use in automated teller machines and point-of-sales terminals nationwide,” she said.

Prado added that the SLPTE-ST is given to qualified student beneficiaries during the enrollment period at the beginning of a particular term and must be paid within the payment loan term period of 12 months.

“One important feature is you have loan and you pay it within the year, there’ll be no interest. And, based on the standing of the students when it comes to payment, and approval of UNIFAST, they can borrow, can loan again and again,” de Vera said. (PNA)

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