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To CHED: Fill up 300K TES slots before closing applications

VALENZUELA CITY, Philippines – Civil engineering on-the-job trainees from the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Valenzuela render actual work tasks at the City Hall’s Engineering Office, May 2013 file image. The deadline for application for the Tertiary Education Subsidy (TES) program to support the cost of tertiary education by providing allowances for books, transportation, boarding, and supplies, under the Commission on Higher Education, has been extended until Oct. 30. Photo by Mark Cayabyab/OS WIN GATCHALIAN

Senator Win Gatchalian urged the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) to make sure all 300,000 slots for the Tertiary Education Subsidy (TES) under the Free Higher Education Law (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. Sayang naman ang P16 billion na budget ng TES kung hindi ito magagamit lahat.” Gatchalian said.

The lawmaker issued the statement 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.

At the same time, 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 and local universities and colleges (SUCs and 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, 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 Listahanan 2.0 of DSWD.