MANILA, Philippines — The difficult and cash heavy tasks of educating the country’s youth can be made easier if the government, the private sector, and even banks could unite to extend educational loan financing products for students.
Kasangga Rep. Teodorico “Nonong” Haresco Jr. made his proposal in the wake of the controversies arising from the death of University of the Philippines-Manila freshman Kristel Tejada who committed suicide due to financial problems affecting his schooling.
Haresco, vice chairman of the House Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship Development, called for financial assistance products for students which could drastically reduce, if not wipe out, the number of college dropouts in the country.
“All sectors must band together to constantly work to truly realize the ideal that education must be a right and not a privilege. As such, our legislation should support bringing school fees to the level where the most people as possible can afford education,” Haresco said.
Now a candidate for the lone congressional district of Aklan, Haresco said these educational loan products can become part of company Corporate Social Responsibility Programs (CSR).
“Due to the limited number of scholarships made available by responsible individuals, government, and private sector companies, not everyone who needs one will necessarily get one. This may be a viable solution for equally deserving students,” he stated.
The administration solon said that ideally, these loans can be full or partial, must bear low interest rates, and long terms.
“It’s even possible for the loaning institution to engage the student-borrower for practicums, part-time work, or full employment, to ‘work off’ their arrears after graduation,” he said.
Terms of the educational loan may be in full or partial assistance, depending on the student’s need and capacity to pay, provided that they comply with the requirements such as maintaining a certain grade point average or rendering service in exchange of the loan.
“These are not a dole outs,” he clarified. “Rather they are contractual. As such they have the added benefit of teaching the youth the value of honoring their obligations and hard work.”
He added that this could be a “win-win” situation, where part of the loan requirements would be to maintain a certain grade level, and after graduation these deserving student-borrowers are assured of jobs.
Last year, Haresco filed House Resolution 2262, which requested appropriate House Committees to look into the requests of Schools, Colleges and Universities for tuition increases. Included in the inquiry would be a scrutiny into “unregulated” fee increases outside of tuition. The resolution has been accepted, pending approval with the Committee on Basic Education and Culture, Higher and Technical Education as of August 28, 2012.
The intent of the House resolution would be to look into how Higher education institutions justify and utilize these tuition fee hikes. “If it were found out that these increases were just a means to improve the institution’s return on investment for their stakeholders, then that would be an unnecessary, onerous, and socially unjust burden for parents and students to bear,” Haresco said.
He also hit the fact that 95 higher educational institutions had already filed with the Commission on Higher Education (CHEd) for tuition increases for the coming school year.
“When the rest of the country is lamenting the tragedy that happened to the Tejadas and seeking a proactive way to move forward, these requests for yet more tuition increases seems [...]