PRESIDENT Macapagal-Arroyo launched the Student’s Assistance Fund for Education for a Strong Republic (SAFE-4-SR) program in the University last Feb. 2.

SAFE-4-SR is an interest-free student loan program for third, fourth, and graduating college students.

According to the President, the program aims to address the increasing number of college students dropping out of school due to financial difficulties.

Dennis Cunanan, the presidential assistant for youth affairs said the program would also encourage Filipinos to get a college degree so the country could to produce top-caliber workforce.

Cunanan said the student loan program would cover tuition, books, course projects, thesis papers, board and lodging, graduation fees and other valid educational expenses.

He added that a student can borrow up to P8, 000 or below per semester. The loan is payable within 10 years after graduation.

However, he said that students would have to pass through a school’s student financial assistance board which would determine if he or she is qualified for the student loan.

Cunanan explained that the student should also have a passing weighted average from the previous semester and is not a beneficiary of other government scholarship programs.

“Sana maraming estudyante ng UST ang makapagtapos sa tulong ng programang ito sa ganun marami pang katulad ng aking ama na si dating pangulong Diosdado Macapagal na nakapagtapos ng UST at nakatulong sa bayan,” the president said, referring to her late father who studied at UST on a scholarship.

UST Secretary General Isidro Abaño, O.P. said the loan scholarship would be a huge help for Thomasians who are deserving of a quality education but are financially handicapped.

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“It may help. And for one who really needs a student loan, ang P8, 000 ay malaking tulong na upang pangtawid ng mga pangangailangan,” Abaño said.
Ma. Cristina S. Lavapie

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