MANILA, Oct. 21 (Mabuhay) – A lawmaker has moved to strengthen the Study Now Pay Later Program (SNPLP) pioneered by President Aquino’s late father, Sen. Benigno Aquino Jr., to enable the government to reach out to more poor but deserving students.
Rep. Eric Olivarez (1st District, Parañaque City) filed House Bill 265, to be known as the Reformed Study Now Pay Later Act of 2013, which provides for a reinforced financial assistance program for qualified individuals.
The bill mandates that seventy percent allocated for the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) and Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) annually through their various financial assistance programs shall go to the SNPLP’s Loan Trust Fund.
Likewise, the amount derived from loan repayments of borrowers, including the principal and interests, shall accrue to the Loan Trust Fund.
Olivarez said the SNPLP is a big help not only for students but also for parents who are willing to give and do all just to provide for the education of their children. However, Olivarez said, providing for children’s education is not the sole obligation of parents.
“Education as a service program is not only the parents’ obligation but the government’s as well, which is mandated to give education to their citizenry so that in the end they will become effective partners of the government in nation building as future leaders and good citizens,” Olivarez said.
Olivarez said a significant number of students have availed of the SNPLP, a core legislation of the late Sen. Aquino. “However, under our present dispensation, in order to carry a more social and widespread coverage of the said law, there is a need to amend the program,” Olivarez said.
The bill covers any Filipino citizen who is not more than 30 years of age and whose parents or guardians have gross annual income not exceeding P180,000.
He or she must be enrolled or intend to enroll in a priority course to be determined by CHED and TESDA; must have passed the National Secondary Achievement Test or NSAT with at least 75 percent and, if previously enrolled in any post-secondary course, must have a weighted average of 2.5 or higher.
As for the repayment scheme, the bill provides that “any loan granted shall be paid by the student-debtor after he has finished the course or profession for which the proceeds of the loan were expanded, but only after a period of two years from the time he has acquired employment.”
Should the student debtor fail to find a job, “the government shall endeavor to provide ample assistance to students under the program in obtaining possible employment,” the bill said.
A Loan Trust Fund Board shall be created to formulate policies, guidelines and rules and regulations necessary to carry out, manage and supervise the Loan Trust Fund and the SNPLP.
It shall be composed of the Chairman of CHED who shall serve as Chairman of the Board; Executive Director of TESDA as Vice Chairman and one representative each from the National Bureau of Investigation; Bureau of Internal Revenue; Government Service Insurance System; Social Security System; Senate Committee on Education, Art and Culture; House Committee on Higher and Technical Education and a representative from the private sector as members. (MNS)