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DSWD urges 4Ps beneficiaries to avail of gov’t tertiary education support

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) urged the beneficiaries of its Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) who want to pursue higher education to avail of various government tertiary education support programs that will assist them with their school expenses.

DSWD Asst. Secretary for Strategic Communications Romel Lopez said on Monday (January 15) that the 4Ps beneficiaries may avail of various educational assistance programs from the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), including scholarships, grant-in-aid, and student loan programs.

“These programs aim to enhance access to quality education for qualified beneficiaries of the country’s flagship anti-poverty program by easing the financial burden of deserving individuals aspiring to pursue higher education,” Asst. Sec. Lopez, who is also the agency spokesperson, said.

According to Asst. Sec. Lopez, these programs are offered to qualified and eligible poor households, including 4Ps beneficiaries, by the Unified Student Financial Assistance System for Tertiary Education (UniFAST), an attached agency of CHED that unifies and harmonizes government-funded student financial assistance programs (StuFAPs).

“Investing in tertiary education for 4Ps beneficiaries is an investment for the future of their respective households and also a step toward achieving the goal of the 4Ps to alleviate poverty through access to free education,” Asst. Sec. Lopez pointed out.

The DSWD spokesperson emphasized that the 4Ps beneficiaries may avail of free higher education in any State Universities and Colleges (SUCs) and CHED-recognized Local Universities and Colleges (LUCs), pursuant to Republic Act 10931 that exempts students from paying tuition and other school fees.

“We urge the beneficiaries, who want to pursue higher education, to coordinate with the nearest universities and colleges in their place of residence to avail of the free tertiary education,” Asst. Sec. Lopez said.

To date, there are 113 SUCs and 104 LUCs nationwide offering free tertiary education under the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act.

Aside from this, Asst. Sec. Lopez said 4Ps beneficiaries can also avail themselves of free technical-vocational education and training that are being implemented by the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) in any state-run technical-vocational institution.

The beneficiaries of 4Ps who opt to enroll in any CHED-recognized public and private higher education institutions may also avail of the Tertiary Education Subsidy (TES), according to the DSWD spokesperson.

“If they qualify, 4Ps beneficiaries may receive a subsidy of at least Php 20,000 per academic year to cover their partial cost of school fees and education-related expenses,” Asst. Sec. Lopez explained.

Another program called Tulong Dunong Program (TDP) may also be an option for 4Ps beneficiaries, which may entitle them to a maximum of Php 15,000 grant for one academic year.

“The beneficiaries will be eligible for the grants under TDP if and only if they are not receiving any CHED and UniFAST education support program,” Asst. Sec. Lopez said.

With all these programs available for qualified poor households, Asst. Sec Lopez urged 4Ps beneficiaries to apply and avail of these programs so they can continue with their higher education with government support.

The DSWD official reiterated that interested beneficiaries may coordinate with CHED-UniFast and the nearest LCUs and SUCs in their locality to know more about the programs.

Under the 4Ps, household beneficiaries are given conditional cash transfers to improve their education, health, and nutrition, assisting them to break the intergenerational cycle of poverty.

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