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Department of Budget and Management (DBM) Secretary Mina F. Pangandaman has approved the issuance of a Special Allotment Release Order (SARO) with a total amount of P3.41 billion to the Department of Labor and Employment-Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (DOLE-TESDA) for the implementation of the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education (UAQTE) Act.

Its corresponding Notice of Cash Allocation (NCA) in the amount of P1.77 billion for the 1st quarter of 2024 was likewise released.

Not everyone may be able to afford higher education. But I believe this should not be the case, most especially to those who are deserving— those who have the heart and passion to learn and who wishes to put their talent and intellgence for the greater good,” Secretary Mina said.

Education, more than a privilege, is a basic human right. It is our gateway for better career paths, higher salaries, and an overall improved quality of life,” Sec. Mina added.

Approximately 74,262 learners for the UAQTE program for the school year 2024 will benefit from the allocated ₱3.41 billion fund, which covers tuition and miscellaneous fees, accident insurance, trainee provision, internet allowance, starter tool kits, national assessment fees, and other school charges.

Otherwise known as Republic Act 10931, the UAQTE is a law that formalizes zero-cost education and waivers of additional charges in state universities and colleges (SUCs) as well as local universities and colleges (LUCs). It envisions financial aid for private higher education institutions, to provide less privileged Filipinos better opportunities to pursue college degrees.

The UAQTE is among the many government initiatives that correlate with President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr.’s Bagong Pilipinas campaign, which pushes for a well-trained workforce and expanded opportunities for Filipinos.

The fund release was approved by Sec. Pangandaman on 26 January 2024, chargeable against DOLE-TESDA's regular budget under the fiscal year 2024 General Appropriations Act (GAA).

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