President Rodrigo Duterte announced on September 1, 2020, that an education subsidy will be given to dependents of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) who were displaced, repatriated, or died due to coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).
“The education subsidy will be given to one college-level beneficiary from a qualified OFW enrolled or is intending to enroll in state universities and colleges, local universities and colleges, and CHED (Commission on Higher Education)- recognized private higher education institutions in this school year 2020,” Duterte said in a recorded public address.
Duterte said the government will allocate PHP1 billion for the subsidy which will be a one-time grant of PHP30,000 for 33,000 student beneficiaries.
“The project will be allotted with the amount of one billion, which will benefit about 33,000 students from 33 OFW families,” Duterte said.
Duterte said the subsidy is a project of the CHED and the United Financial Assistance System for Tertiary Education (UniFAST) in collaboration with the Department of Labor and Employment.
Last May, Duterte appealed to schools to offer staggered or installment payment options for students, recognizing how their parents are “hard-pressed” in finances due to the community quarantine brought about by the Covid-19.
Duterte also ordered the state-run Land Bank of the Philippines (Land Bank) to provide loans to students, especially those who could not afford to pay their tuition at all.
Duterte said parents who may have lost their jobs due to the pandemic that their children would still be able to pay their tuition with loans offered by the Land Bank.
“For those who have really nothing to come up to sa bayaran (in paying tuition), we have the Land Bank and kindly listen to rules kasi itong Land Bank, bubuksan namin (because we will open Land Bank) and you can borrow money to finance the education of your children,” Duterte said.
The Land Bank currently offers a “study-now-play-later” loan to cover the tuition and other enrollment-related fees of eligible students. (Azer Parrocha, PNA)