The Unified Student Financial Assistance System for Tertiary Education (UniFAST), is a huge part of the Commission on Higher Education (CHED). It is known for providing different scholarship grants to Tertiary students. UniFAST is one of the programs administered by the R.A. 10931, being called the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act.
Also Read: OWWA Scholarships and Training Programs
In the Philippines, a lot of students are not able to finish their college education because they cannot afford the tuition. The Unified Student Financial Assistance System for Tertiary Education, or UNIFAST, was created to address this problem.
UNIFAST is a government agency that provides scholarships and financial assistance to students who want to continue their education but do not have the means to do so.
The agency offers a variety of programs and services, including the Tertiary Education Subsidy (TES) program and the Free Higher Education program.
The government gives an allowance budget to UniFAST. Student grantees receive free tuition and miscellaneous. The good thing about these programs is they are supporting both public and private school students, universities, and colleges, as well as CHED-accredited institutions.
The UniFAST Central Office utilized 99.97 percent of its PHP3 billion allotment for Free Higher Education in State Universities and Colleges and CHED-recognized local universities and colleges. It also gives Tertiary Education Subsidy (TES) for new grantees, while the CHED Regional Offices utilized 99.39 percent.
What is the meaning of UNIFAST?
UNIFAST is an acronym for Unified Student Financial Assistance System for Tertiary Education.
What is UNIFAST?
UniFAST is connected to CHED, which is known as the major implementer of the Republic Act 10931 or the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Law’s Free Higher Education (FHE) and Tertiary Education Subsidy (TES) programs.
The UniFAST Act, known as the Republic Act No. 10687, or the Unified Financial Assistance System for Tertiary Education Act, was implemented in 2015. Scholarships, grants-in-aid, student loans, and other specialized kinds of StuFAPs are all developed by the UniFAST Board.
Purpose of UNIFAST
The UniFAST bind, develop, strengthen, and expand all government-funded modalities of Student Financial Help Programs for tertiary education – including special purpose education assistance to both public and private institutions.
Assistance for Special Education
UniFAST has a “Special Purpose Education Assistance” that focuses on research and scientific projects sponsored by StuFAPs at the college and master’s/doctoral levels. It is strongly involved in the financing of the following:
- Research and study production, videography, and documentation using digital technology
- Book, manuscript, thesis, dissertations, scientific and technical journals in both writing and publishing
· Creation of educational and academic materials, as well as science models
List of UNIFAST Programs
Check out this list of programs under UNIFAST:
1. R.A. 10931 or Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act
President Rodrigo Roa Duterte signed this special ACT in 2017. It is an act promoting universal access to quality tertiary education by providing free tuition and other school fees in State Universities and Colleges, Local Universities and Colleges, and State-Run Technical-Vocational Institutions. It provides Tertiary Education Subsidy and Student Loan Program.
2. Free Higher Education
All Filipino undergraduates enrolled in SUCs and CHED-recognized LUCs will get free tuition and other financial support for schooling.
You must pass the following requirements:
- Pass/meet the institution’s admission and retention rules (no age or financial requirements)
- Must not have a previous undergraduate degree
- Not staying too long in college (e.g., maximum residency rule plus one-year grace period as provided by law)
3. Tertiary Education Subsidy
TES is a grant-in-aid program of the government that offers a percentage coverage for a student who is in college.
4. Student Loan Program
There are two types of student loans from UniFAS; short-term and long-term SLP. However, for the Academic Year 2018-2019, students can only apply for a short-term SLP for undergraduate courses, review expenditures for licensure examinations, and graduate education, including medicine and law.
5. Free Tech-Voc Education and Training
All Filipino learners enrolled in their first National Certificate (NC) I or II in any public Technical-Vocational Institution (TVI) registered with the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) will be eligible for Free TVET, as well as corresponding allowances. This will be subjected to certain TESDA conditions.
NC III, IV, and V courses will be free once TESDA implements packaged, diploma, or longer-term programs.
Special Programs and Projects
6. Land Bank of the Philippines
Recently, the state-run Land Bank of the Philippines (LANDBANK) launched the LANDBANK Mastercard Prepaid Card (LMPC) for the Tertiary Education Subsidy (TES) Program in collaboration with the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) and the Unified Student Financial Assistance System for Tertiary Education (UniFAST). The LMPC is a reloadable general-purpose card for TES beneficiaries that serves as an electronic wallet and may be used as a debit or ATM card.
In addition to accessibility and convenience, the LMPC provides cashless payments, electronic funds transfers, and online account management. In this way, the response to the growing need for safer and digital financial solutions was brought to financial grantees.
Furthermore, TES recipients will benefit from other LMPC features like 3D Security for secure online transactions, contactless “tap” payments, and fund reloading at any LANDBANK branch or Agent Banking Partners around the country. This is also one of the small ways of the government to stop corruption – ensuring that students will receive the exact amount of support they intended to get from the government.
7. Tabang OFW
The Tabang OFW program is considered a Tertiary Education Subsidy (TES) for OFW dependents in college. Each qualified beneficiary of an OFW will receive a one-time gift of PHP 30,000. The beneficiary can use this amount for their studies and other expenses related to their schooling.
DOLE, CHED, and UniFAST signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) addressing Tabang OFW on September 25, 2020. These entities also published Joint Memorandum Circular No. 2020-03, which signified the program’s immediate execution.
The Tabang OFW program benefits only “college-level” dependents of OFWs. Kababayans from abroad who have lost their jobs, been repatriated, or died as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Every qualified OFW will be considered for one (1) college-level dependent.
8. Film Development Council of the Philippines
The Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP) is the national institution that is in charge of developing and executing policies and programs for the Philippine film industry’s economic, cultural, and educational development and growth.
9. Pamantasang Pangmalakasan
Since the government is proposing and encouraging their agencies for secure and convenient transactions, the Pamantasang Pangmalakasan was built. It is an online feature series that focuses on public and private higher education institutions which implement the significant components of Republic Act No. 10931, also known as the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act (UAQTEA), Free Higher Education, and Tertiary Education Subsidy programs.
Video: How to Apply for UniFAST TES
Here’s a helpful guide for Filipino students who want to get financial assistance for college/university via UniFAST TES:
Frequently Asked Questions
Please check out these common questions and answers about the UNIFAST agency:
1. Can I still apply for other government scholarships, such as DOST or City Scholarships, if I already have a TES grant?
The TES guidelines do not contain any limitations. In fact, you can receive other scholarships while receiving a TES grant. However, most of these other government scholarships have rules that prohibit you from applying for other government scholarships or financial help programs like TES. So you need to check the guidelines of your preferred scholarship program to see if they have rules regarding this.
2. How can I benefit from UniFAST?
UniFAST simply brings all the government-funded programs and support for students. It assists both public and private school students by giving them special education assistance. Scholarships are under one umbrella for you as a student.
3. What exactly is Special Education Assistance?
The term “Special Purpose Education Assistance” refers to research and scientific assistance StuFAPs fund college and master’s/doctoral level studies. It involves financial support for the following:
- Creating and publishing books, manuscripts, thesis, and dissertations
- journals of science and technology
- Development of educational and academic materials, as well as scientific research models
- Filming, production, and documentation (through digital technology)
of investigation and research
4. What are the rules to keep your scholarship?
Students must maintain excellent academic standing and complete the return service obligations imposed by SUCs and CHED-accredited LUCs. The return service requirements must be completed within the time frame specified after completing the degree program. Students who willingly opt-out will be excluded from the IRR’s return service requirement. Students who contribute freely to the institution are nonetheless subject to the return service requirement.
5. Who is not qualified for the scholarship given by UniFAST?
Filipinos with a bachelor’s degree and undergraduates who are overstaying their courses and institutions. Students who are not eligible will be charged tuition and other school costs as determined by the SUC and LUC Governing Boards.
6. Is the TES application available for all year levels? Can I apply even if I am in my sophomore year?
TES applications cater to all year levels. If you are qualified and eligible, you can apply for TES even if you are already in your third year. And if you fall into one of the TES Priority Categories and were included in the budgeted ranking you will be considered a TES grantee.
UniFAST offers huge help for Filipino students in order to finish their studies in college. It also allows students to get their school grants in form of cash through the implementation of the Land Bank Mastercard.
For Filipino students who are currently in college but do have no enough funds to finish the remaining years, this can be the best answer. Patience and effort will be required, especially during the application process. But it will all be worth it in time.