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Free college education for poor high school grads sought

MANILA -- Lawmakers are pushing for the passage of a bill granting free college education to high school graduates belonging to poor families.

"Ako Bicol" Party-list Reps. Christopher Co and RodelBatocabe filed House Bill 379 to give poor students a chance to pursue college education.

Co said the measure is a first concrete step towards providing the deserving graduates of the country’s public high schools with appropriate quality college education keyed to the demands of a highly competitive marketplace.

“Not only does providing quality education a matter much to be heeded upon by the State, it also mirrors the problem of providing sustainability and productivity to one’s economic life vis-à-vis the government’s as well,” Batocabe said.

Under the bill, the family of a qualified beneficiary should be earning no more than P6,870 per month with six members in their household.

The qualified beneficiaries would have the right to choose the public or state college or university within the city, province or region where they reside.

Should there be no State college or university in the city or province where he resides or where the university or college facilities cannot accommodate all qualified beneficiaries, the student beneficiary may apply this college benefit to any college or university within the region nearest to his place of residence.

In the absence of public universities or colleges within the region of his residence, the qualified student may avail of the privilege in any public or state college or university in any region nearest to the province where he resides.

The State colleges or universities have the obligation to admit qualified beneficiaries, subject only to limitation of funding and facilities.

Violation of the obligation shall constitute a ground for dismissal of the school authorities concerned.

The free college education benefit will be terminated if the student fails for two consecutive semesters in the majority of the subjects in which he is enrolled during the course of his study.
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