Cost has always been a hindrance for young Filipinos aspiring to become doctors, especially those from low-income families. Now, they will have the chance to pursue their dream as government will be providing a full tuition subsidy for qualified students entering medical school.

They must, however, be enrolled in state universities and colleges, according to the Commission on Higher Education (CHEd).

CHEd Commissioner and Spokesperson Prospero de Vera III announced the programme rolled out by the Duterte Administration called Cash Grants to Medical Students Enrolled in State Universities and Colleges (CGMS-SUC).

Aside from ensuring that young Filipinos who want to complete a college education will be able to do so regardless of economic status, another objective of the programme is to address the perennial problem of lack of doctors serving the country.

Public health has had to contend with overseas migration where medical professionals are concerned. The high cost of medical education pushes many graduates to seek greener pastures after earning their medical degrees.

The financial assistance for medical students will be implemented starting this school year, De Vera said, following the finalization of the Implementing Rules and Regulations pertaining to the tuition subsidy drafted by the CHEd and Department of Budget and Management.

Qualified medical students enrolled at the University of the Philippines in Manila, UP-Leyte, Mindanao State University, West Visayas State University, Bicol University, Cagayan State University, Mariano Marcos State University, and the University of Northern Philippines will be able to avail of the tuition subsidy.

Each school is entitled to Php 39 million for programme implementation.

A total of Php 88 billion has been allocated for tuition fee subsidy for all undergraduate students enrolled in more than 100 SUCs nationwide, De Vera said.

To qualify for the grant, students must pass the admission requirement of the SUC, and must be enrolled in an authorized SUC Doctor of Medicine programme. They will be required to maintain a passing General Weighted Average (GWA) grade, carry a regular academic load, and complete the degree within the period allowed by the university.

In return, grantees are mandated to render one year of service for every year of cash grant they receive. They can either serve as physicians in government and private hospitals, health facilities of local government units, or join the Doctors to the Barrios deployment programme of the Department of Health. MIMS

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