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House passes bill proposing free college entrance examination for top-performing ‘underprivileged’ students

By Yoniel Acebuche Published Jan 17, 2022 9:42 pm

The House of Representatives on Monday approved House Bill No. 10555 or the “Free College Entrance Examinations Act,” which mandates Private Higher Education Institutions (PHEI) to waive their respective college entrance examination fees of top-performing “underprivileged” high school students and graduates. 

The proposed law obtained 197 affirmatives, zero negative, and no abstention by the lower chamber. 

House Bill No. 10555 aims to allow more underprivileged and academically qualified students to enter private higher educational institutions, which likewise, applies to underprivileged graduating high school students and graduates who are in the top 10 percent of their graduating batch.

“All PHEIs offering degree-granting programs at the undergraduate level are hereby mandated to waive college entrance examination fees to underprivileged graduating high school students and high school graduates belonging to the top 10 percent of the graduating class who are applying for college admission,” the bill states. 

However, the proposed law only allowed underprivileged students whose parents live below the poverty line or belong to the “poorest of the poor” under the measures of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) and the National Household Targeting System of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

Meanwhile, the House of Representatives also approved House Bill 10560 on its third and final reading after gaining 200 affirmative votes which also aims to expand the coverage of tertiary education subsidy. 

The said subsidy allows more academic achievers yet underprivileged students to study in private higher educational institutions and to benefit from the coverage of the tertiary education subsidy through the voucher system which exclusively helped the poor academically competent students. 

Under the subsidy, all beneficiaries also should continue to receive the benefits until they have completed their post-secondary technical-vocational course or higher education degree program but they need to maintain their good grades and residency based on the regulations.