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State universities, colleges get budget boost

MANILA, Philippines - President Aquino has ordered the Budget Department to release an additional P4.2 billion for state universities and colleges (SUCs) in line with the government’s aim to improve the quality of higher education in the country.

Budget Secretary Florencio Abad said the amount is part of the P13.4 billion that the President allocated for the Disbursement Acceleration Plan.

"He decided to expand the funds for public tertiary education to give Filipino students a much-needed educational boost, as well as to upgrade the standards of excellence among our SUCs,” he said.

He added that SUCs may qualify for the added funds once they signify their commitment to the reform roadmap being designed by the Commission on Higher Education, the DBM, and the SUCs themselves.

Among the measures outlined in the reform plan include the alignment of SUC course offerings with the Aquino administration’s job-generation and economic-growth priorities; the movement toward the amalgamation of the regional university system; the development of stronger links to relevant industries, including research and development; faculty development and job placements; as well as transparent and accountable financial management, among others.

Of the P4.2 billion, P3.356 billion will support institutional capacity building activities in leading SUCs. These include funds for upgrading key infrastructure and facilities (P2.631 billion), grant-in-aid for research, development and extension (P560 million) and executive development (165 million).

“This project will address the challenge of providing better access to quality higher education and to generate, adapt, and transfer technologies for enhancing productivity, alleviating poverty, and improving the country’s education competitiveness,” Abad said.

Part of the P4.2 billion is the P500 million Grants-in-Aid program for poverty alleviation that will support qualified students to complete a college degree. The students will come from the poorest families as identified by the Department of Social Welfare and Development.

The grant program will focus on vulnerable youth who are ineligible for the conditional transfer program (CCT), but who are nonetheless unable to pursue gainful employment.

The beneficiaries will be directed to enrol in priority courses, including science and technology, agriculture/fisheries as well entrepreneurship, in leading universities in several regions. The students will be provided with tuition, monthly living stipends, and other allowances.

Likewise, P427.8 million has been earmarked for the Modernization of Higher Education Facilities project for leading SUCs. 


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