The University of the Philippines (UP) is determined to amplify efforts in fulfilling its role as the country’s premier institution for higher learning that prioritizes underprivileged students.
Aside from fare subsidies, allowances, and free online reviewers, the UP administration is attempting to boost its appeal of encouraging more students hailing from outlying areas, poor localities, and public high schools to take UP College Admission Test (UPCAT) and officially be an “Iskolar ng Bayan”.
In an invitational brunch with selected members of the press, UP President Alfredo Pascual cited 2014 records showing that more students coming from households with an annual income of P1 million took the UPCAT than those whose families earn only P100,000 or less.
Pascual shared that regardless of the passing rate, students from low-income families end up not enrolling to the UP system for reasons that he wishes to address satisfactorily.
One main concern, he said, is the exorbitant fare for students coming from remote locations. This is mainly why qualified Iskos and Iskas from any of the seven campuses, namely, UP Diliman, UP Manila, UP Baguio, UP Los Baños in Laguna, UP Visayas (in four campuses), UP Mindanao (Davao City), UP Open University, can avail of the transportation support.
There is also the apprehension regarding increasing tuition rates, which is an issue previously addressed by the Commission on Higher Education (CHED). CHED claimed that the national government have sufficient funds for financially challenged students. In fact, there is a P2.2-billion budget for student financial aid.
Further, the UP Office of the President also launched two programs that may provide assistance to students who are bent on making ends meet for quality education. The requirements for the UP President Scholarship Program and UP President Leadership Grant are available on the university website.
UP Vice President for Public Affairs Prospero de Vera added that the process of filing the UPCAT application is also an issue that needs to be properly dealt with. De Vera said that high school teachers play a vital role in shaping their students’ educational track just as much as the students themselves have a responsibility to plan their future.