Senatorial candidate and Pasig city Representative Roman Romulo held a press conference on Tuesday at the Houe of Representatives and discussed the recently signed Unified Student Financial Assistance System for Tertiary Education ( UniFAST) Act.
The UniFAST shall consist of all existing modalities of StuFAPs for Tertiary Education and Special Purpose Education Assistance in both public and private institutions, including Scholarships, Grants-in-Aid, Student Loans and government programs in partnership with other stakeholders, among others, and which are nationally funded and/or implemented by national and local government agencies, branches and instrumentalities. A student enrolling in Tertiary Education, whether in public, private, national or local institutions, can avail of any one (1) or more of the said modalities of StuFAP.
Scholarship. – A unified, improved, and expanded government-funded Scholarship program shall be instituted to promote an environment conducive for the development of bright and talented students to serve the public good and enlarge the pool of world-class Filipino researchers, artists, innovators, thinkers, and leaders.
The Board shall formulate and establish the policies and mechanisms for the identification of Beneficiaries based on objective indicators derived from credible databases, including students whose families are Beneficiaries of the poverty alleviation programs of the government: Provided, That Beneficiaries under the Iskolar ng Bayan Act shall be prioritized.
The financial amount for Scholarships shall be determined by the Board, taking into consideration the actual cost of various programs in the top public and private HEIs: Provided, That the financial amount for Scholarships shall not exceed the actual Cost of Tertiary Education.
Grant-in-Aid. – To improve equity and facilitate democratic access to quality education given income poverty and inequity, Grants-in-Aid shall be made available to students belonging to poor families and marginalized sectors.
The Board shall formulate and establish the policies and mechanisms for the identification of Grantees based on objective indicators derived from credible databases, including students whose families are Beneficiaries of the poverty alleviation programs of the government.
The financial amount comprising Grants-in-Aid shall be determined by the Board, taking into consideration the actual cost of various programs in the top public and private HEIs.
National Student Loan Program. — The Board shall pursue a long-term plan for the development of a self- sustaining National Student Loan Program (NSLP) which shall provide qualified students short-term and long-term financial assistance for Tertiary Education. This plan shall be based on a systematic evaluation of lessons learned from current and past Student Loan schemes, both local and international.
To achieve this, the Board shall endeavor to ensure the professionalization of the NSLP’s management, the establishment of an appropriate organizational setup that shall best implement the Program, and the institution of accountability mechanisms, sanctions and incentives conducive for the effective and efficient collection of loan repayments.
The Board shall explore different processes, including systematic testing and rigorous evaluation of methods to be undertaken to minimize the risk of non-repayment of loans and collection costs. It shall also encourage private sector participation to ensure the delivery of the best possible service suitable to the needs and objectives of the NSLP.
Meanwhile, members of the press also took the opportunity to ask questions related to politics and the upcoming 2016 campaign and election, and other pressing issues.