In October 2015, the Unified Financial Assistance System for Tertiary Education Act (UniFAST) also known as Republic Act No. 10687 was signed into law, which puts under one body all government-funded modalities of Student Financial Assistance Programs (StuFAPs) for tertiary education in bogh public and private institutions. These modalities include scholarships, grants-in-aid, student loans and other specialized forms of StuFAPs formulated by the UniFAST Board.
The UniFAST law – and its Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) – are intended to make the implementation of StuFAPs in the tertiary level more effective, efficient, and politically-neutral or free of political labeling.
The three different kinds of StuFAPs are scholarships, grants-in-aid, and student loans.
- Scholarship is granted to to qualified students based on merit or talent.
- Grant-in-Aid requires a minimum level of capacity (to tackle college work) from poor but qualified students so they could finish tertiary education.
- Student loan consists of short- or long-term loans to students who are short of cash, regardless of their economic status during the time of enrolment. The student is (or his parents, guardians or co-makers are) expected to pay the loan when they become gainfully employed.
How to avail of scholarships, grants-in-aid, and student loans?
- Students enrolling or are continuing a first-time Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET), associate, undergraduate (college), master’s or doctoral degree – whether taken in public or private, local or national educational institution
- Must be graduates of Senior High School (SHS, or its equivalent) from authorized schools or educational institutions implementing the K-12 program for those who wish to pursue an undergraduate course.
- Applicants who wish to pursue TVET must have at least ten (10) years of basic education or its equivalent, and must pass the initial TESDA screening/ profiling or assessment procedure, trade test, or skills competency evaluation. They must possess good moral character with no criminal record (based on conviction by final judgment). This will however not be required of target learners who were in conflict with the law or are undergoing or have undergone rehabilitation.
- The applicants must be Filipino citizens. But the UniFAST Board is mandated by law to provide appropriate StuFAPs to foreign students based on reciprocal programs of countries that provide similar benefits to Filipino students (such as student exchange programs, international reciprocal scholarships, and other mutually-beneficial programs).
- Applicants must declare if they are already benefiting from other government StuFAPs. They may still avail of another StuFAP for the remaining portion — if at the time of the application — the amount of the other existing grant did not cover the full cost of tertiary education at the Higher Education Institution (HEI, which offers associate, bachelor and advanced degrees) or the Technological Vocational Institution (TVI, which are public or private institutions recognized/ authorized by TESDA to implement the Dualized Training Program or DTP together with a partner establishment).
Where to apply for StuFAPs?
One could apply for scholarships and grants at CHED, TESDA, any of the departments and other government instrumentalities such as the DOST, DOLE, DSWD, DND, DA, DILG, DENR, OPAPP, NCIP, among other StuFAP-granting institutions. Loans are provided only by CHED and the GFIs.
What are the benefits of StuFAPs?
Depending on the kind or modality, an StuFAP may (or may not) cover any or all of the following: tuition fees, miscellaneous and other school fees, educational expenses and/ or cost-of-living allowance (COLA).
The top 10 graduates of all public high schools are given priority in making student loans. The loans however should be repaid in installment basis once the student graduates or leaves the school/ college/ university.