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P5.8B tuition aid set for 1M private HS students

Press Release
August 30, 2010

QUEZON CITY  –  Some one million students enrolled in private high schools nationwide will receive between P5,000 to P10,000 each in tuition aid under the Expanded Government Assistance to Students and Teachers in Private Education (GASTPE) Law, Cebu Rep. Eduardo Gullas, an educator, disclosed Monday.

Gullas said total of P5.8 billion in fresh funding has been set aside to subsidize the tuition of private high school students under the GASTPE Law, or Republic Act 8545.

Gullas said the amount is contained in the P207.3-billion new budget for the Department of Education (Deped) in the proposed P1.645-trillion General Appropriations Act of 2011.

He said the P5.8 billion is 49 percent or P1.9 billion greater than the P3.9 billion earmarked this year for GASTPE. This year's allocation is meant to help some 700,000 students.

GASTPE has three components – education service contracting (ESC), the education voucher system (EVS) and the teacher salary subsidy (TSS).

In large-scale ESC with private high schools, the Deped agrees to subsidize the tuition of students at a rate of P10,000 each for those in Metro Manila and P5,000 each for those in other parts of the country.

In the individual EVS, private high school students who apply for aid would each get a voucher of P5,000 to P10,000, which they can then use to partly pay for their tuition.

GASTPE does not have any minimum scholastic or maximum family income requirement, as long as the student stays enrolled, and his or her parents pay for the rest of the tuition.

"GASTPE is a four-year funding commitment. A student covered by the assistance stands to receive a total of P20,000 to P40,000 in tuition subsidy throughout his or her four years in a private high school," Gullas pointed out.

GASTPE is meant to help decongest and reduce the class size to more manageable levels in public high schools, especially in areas with severe shortages of classrooms and teachers, according to Gullas.

He said GASTPE also seeks to ease the growing migration of students to public high schools, mainly due to the soaring cost of tuition and miscellaneous fees in private institutions.

In TSS, Gullas said teachers in private high schools who provide instruction to students under the ESC stand to receive salary subsidies ranging from P7,000 to P10,500 per month, depending on their loads.

Gullas is author of the 1998 law that established the Adopt-a-School Program, which grants lucrative tax incentives to private entities that aid public schools. Under the program, contributing firms or individuals may deduct from their gross taxable income the amount equal to 150 percent of their assistance.

Gullas is also author of a bill seeking to enliven the use of the English language in schools to build up the global competitiveness of the country's future human resources.