House bills filed to benefit college studentsBy Leila B. Salaverria
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Proposed laws that intend to make college education a little less of a financial burden for students have gained traction in the House of Representatives.
Before going on its two-week break last week, the House approved on third and final reading two bills—one seeking to provide free college entrance exams to students and another seeking to establish a voluntary student loan program by banks and government financial institutions.
Under the voluntary student loan program act, banks are entitled to incentives if they put up a student loan program for colleges or universities or technical-vocational institutions to cover tuition and miscellaneous fees, as well as allowances and board and lodging expenses.
The loan may be paid in installments beginning two years after the student has graduated from the college or tech-voc institution, and may be paid within eight years.
Lenders should charge an interest based on the prevailing 91-day treasury bill rate at the time of the release of the loan.
According to its proponents, the measure was intended to address the lack of access to education due to economic difficulties, and to see to it that each family has at least one college graduate.
Another measure proposes that all state universities and colleges and local colleges offering degree programs are required to provide free college entrance exams to graduating high school students, high school graduates, college entrants and transferees.