FFE Magazine

Development Bank of the Philippines to allot P2 B for student loans

MANILA, Philippines – The Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) will provide some P2 billion in loans to qualified schools and other educational institutions for re-lending to poor but deserving students.

HELPS – or Higher Education Loan Program for Students – is a DBP loan facility using qualified educational institutions as conduits for student loans.

The DBP said the program supports the government’s commitment to education and poverty alleviation in the Millennium Development Goals, and the Philippine Development Plan’s “Education for All” by 2015.

Schools with transparency and good governance practices, proven level of excellence, track record of performance, and tie-ups with employers or manning companies are eligible to borrow under the DBP-HELPS.

Under the program, schools and their accredited partner companies or employers will conduct the prequalification and selection of student borrowers.

The DBP said a tripartite contract with the school and student borrowers requires partner companies to provide on-the-job training, subsequent employment, and automatic payroll deductions to enable the students to repay their loans.

Educational institutions may borrow up to 90 percent of the total cost, but not to exceed P150 million, based on the total cost of expenditures and the number of student-borrower applicants.

Qualified expenditures include the cost of tuition, board and lodging, books, uniforms, school materials, review and licensure fees, travel fees, airfare and other training fees.

Student borrowers should be at least high school graduates, of good moral character, and with excellent academic performance.

Courses covered by the program include maritime, education, skills training certification on technical-vocational courses, culinary arts, information technology or business process outsourcing-related courses, hospitality management, graduate and post-graduate courses, and other bridging courses.

HELPS is an extension of the DBP Endowment for Education Program (DEEP), which provides scholarships to bright and promising students, including persons with disabilities and those from low-income families who wish to pursue a degree in the fields of maritime education, agriculture, technical-vocational courses, entrepreneurship, forestry, education, and hotel and restaurant management.

Subsidies for SUCs increased

The Aquino administration has increased this year’s subsidies for state universities and colleges (SUCs) to 44 percent to improve public tertiary education in the country, the Department of Budget and Management said yesterday.

Budget Secretary Florencio Abad said the move was in response to the calls of the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) for the government to increase subsidies for SUCs.

“Over the last two years, the Aquino administration has expanded its budgetary support to SUCs. Beyond increasing their yearly allocations, however, we want to ensure the implementation of educational reforms among our SUCs, so their curricula are more responsive to their students’ needs,” he said.

Abad added that subsequent subsidy increases to SUCs would be based on their compliance with the government’s reform roadmap signed with SUC heads in 2012.

Meanwhile, the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) yesterday urged higher education institutions (HEIs) to implement minimal tuition increase this coming school year.

CHED chair Patricia Licuanan asked HEIs “to keep tuition hikes at low percentage levels.”

Licuanan said 451 out of more than 1,700 schools nationwide have filed petitions to increase tuition and other fees.

“We don’t give tuition increases. We just act on the petitions. If they meet the basic standards, we grant their requests,” Licuanan said on ANC.

The National Union of Students of the Philippines (NUSP) had earlier filed a complaint with CHED, detailing how private schools like the University of Santo Tomas, Adamson University, and the University of the East allegedly conducted “bogus consultations” on tuition increases.

The NUSP noted that the schools’ proposed five to 10 percent hike in tuition is apart from the miscellaneous fee increases being charged to students. The group said UST, Adamson, UE, Letran, and Lyceum of the Philippines charge high fees.

“We will act on the complaint filed by NUSP,” Licuanan said.

The CHED chief urged students to avail themselves of the agency’s scholarship programs.

800,000 graduates hunting for jobs

Meanwhile, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) yesterday advised the estimated 800,000 graduates who will be seeking employment this summer to be prepared for job hunting.

Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz advised the jobseekers to always have their application documents ready to increase their chances of getting hired on the spot.

- Donnabelle Gatdula With Zinnia dela Peña, Helen Flores, Mayen Jaymalin

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