The top 10 graduates of all public high schools in the Philippines will be granted scholarships in state universities and colleges under a law signed by President Aquino.
Republic Act (RA) No. 10648, the Iskolar ng Bayan Act of 2014, will allow these students to enjoy a one-year scholarship in a state college or university of their choice subject to the schools’ admission rules.
“It is the declared policy of the State to protect and promote the right of all citizens to quality and accessible education at all levels and to establish and maintain a financial assistance system that shall be available to deserving students, especially the underprivileged,” the law provides..
“For this purpose, the government shall democratize access to higher education by institutionalizing a college scholarship program to be named the ‘Iskolar ng Bayan Program’ for top graduates of public high schools in the country, subject to the academic standards, application and admission policies, and such other reasonable rules and regulations of state colleges and universities,” it added.
Under RA 10648, the scholarship grant coves the full amount of tuition and other school fees for the first year of college. After the first year, the student beneficiary shall be covered by the regular student financial assistance and scholarship programs of the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) if they qualify.
The law directs CHED to conduct a review of the number of graduating public high school students in each province to ensure that SUCs there have the capacity to absorb the Iskolars ng Bayan. CHED, together with the SUCs, must also develop a system, including the appointment of advisers, that will provide assistance and guidance to the scholars in choosing their course and the SUC that will best suit their aspirations and strengths.
Funding requirements for the scholarship grants will be sourced from the budget of CHED or the concerned SUCs in the national budget.