State colleges, universities got more budget for 2013 – Abad | Inquirer News
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State colleges, universities got more budget for 2013 – Abad

Budget and Management Secretary Florencio Abad. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines — Budget Secretary Florencio B. Abad clarified on Monday that far from experiencing budget cuts this year, state colleges and universities received a 44-percent hike to get a total of P37.1 billion.

Abad issued the statement in reaction to allegations on budget cuts imposed on state colleges and universities and insufficient funding for education in the wake of the suicide of a freshman at the University of the Philippines.

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Kristel Tejada, who hailed from a low-income family, supposedly took her life earlier this month because authorities at the UP Manila forced her to file a leave of absence when she failed to pay her tuition on time.

“To say that we decreased the budget for SUCs is grossly inaccurate,” Abad said. “As a matter of fact, the Aquino administration gave the sector a budget boost over its 2012 allocation, in line with (the) goal to improve the country’s tertiary education system and expand the operational capacity of SUCs.”

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The budget chief added that the UP System itself received the highest budget at P9.53 billion in new appropriations for 2013. “This year, the administration will pay particular focus on streamlining the curricula of SUCs through the Roadmap for Higher Education Reform,” he said.

“Apart from making higher education more responsive to students’ needs, the roadmap will help college students fine-tune their skills so they’re primed for jobs in high-performing industries,” he added.

Last February, the Social Security System said its expanded educational assistance loan program has been largely untapped, with some 12,000 students having taken advantage of it so far.

These students account for P148 million in education loans taken out in 2012, although the program has a P7-billion kitty.

Ma. Luz C. Generoso, SSS assistant vice president, said in a statement more members could borrow this year as a large portion of the program fund has remained untapped.

The pension fund earmarked P3.5 billion for its “Educ-Assist” program that was launched in May last year while the national government provided the same amount as counterpart funding, she said.

Members who earn up to P15,000 a month can now apply. Borrowers may use the loan proceeds for themselves or for any beneficiary who may be a legal spouse or dependent child.

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Unmarried borrowers may designate as beneficiary a sibling, including half-brothers and half-sisters.

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TAGS: Education, Kristel Tejada, News, State Budget and Taxes, state colleges and universities, University of the Philippines
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