Students dislocated due to the discontinuance of senior high school (SHS) programs in state universities and colleges (SUCs) can shift to private education institutions and avail of tuition subsidy from the national government, according to Makati City Rep. Luis Campos Jr., vice chairperson of the House committee on appropriations.
“In the 2024 General Appropriations Law, Congress earmarked the sum of P27.8 billion to pay for the tuition of disadvantaged Grades 11 and 12 students enrolled in private secondary schools, or in private universities and colleges offering the SHS program,” Campos said.
The P27.8 billion for the SHS Voucher Program (SHSVP) provides tuition grants to enable qualified Grade 10 completers, as determined by the Department of Education (DepEd), to enlist for Grades 11 and 12 in private high schools, according to Campos.
“Assuming SHS students currently enrolled in SUCs cannot be accommodated in DepEd schools in their communities, they can enroll in private schools and the SHSVP can pay for their tuition,” Campos said.
The threat of student displacement arose after the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), in a Dec. 18, 2023 memorandum, insisted that SUCs that are still offering the SHS program no longer have the legal authority nor the funding to do so.
The SHSVP pays for the tuition of underprivileged Grades 11 and 12 students placed in private schools owing to the lack of DepEd schools in their communities, or because existing public schools are already overcrowded.
“We must stress that private high schools are the government’s partners in improving public access to basic education,” Campos said.
Campos said the SHSVP also helps to provide income to private high schools, many of which suffered severe financial difficulties during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We need private high schools to keep on operating viably, especially in communities where we lack public schools,” Campos said.