Beyond their reputation as centers for excellence in science and technology, many students also vie for slots at Science High Schools because studying there is extremely affordable. For many middle- and lower-income families, entry into a Science High School is the ticket to a quality education without the five-digit price tag.
Scholarships for Scientists
Part of the mission-vision of every school in the Philippine Science system is to provide free quality education to young scientific talents. That’s why each and every school in the system from the main Philippine Science High School campus in Diliman to its branch campus in Southern Mindanao requires no tuition fee payments from any student.
This arrangement, however, does not come without strings. Before finally enrolling in the system, each student is required to sign an official and notarized contract that binds him or her to the terms of Philippine Science scholarship. Among those terms are a return service clause (students are required to give service to the government after college) and a requirement for travel clearance when going abroad.
In addition to the free tuition, the Philippine Science system also gives students monthly stipends, the value of which depends on the student’s socioeconomic background. Many students who study in a campus far from home rely largely on this monthly allowance.
Bills, Bills, Bills
Throughout the course of four years, it’s inevitable that students incur some costs while studying. Project expenses, field trips and special events are just some of the hidden costs that, though few, can add up to quite a considerable amount. How do students deal with all these financial burdens?
In most cases, the Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) and the respective student councils make allowances for students who are underprivileged or are unable to deal with the expenses. A sponsor system is usually in place, wherein a parent or a third-party pays the cost of a student’s participation in an activity. In some cases, the cost of the extra student may be divided and paid for by all the other paying participants.
The organizations and institutions in the Philippine Science system place higher priority on everyone’s participation than making sure that everyone is paid. Countless students have been able to go on field trips to the provinces or attend Junior-Senior prom, despite their lack of financial capacity.
Asking for Help
Should a student require financial assistance for things not directly related to school, he or she has several options in the Philippine Science system. Cooperatives that operate in each campus, for example, typically offer loans at reduced interest rates compared to banks. Other groups like the school foundation – a non-profit company – and personal sponsors may also be approached directly for financial support.
If there was ever a secondary school that did not look at financial capacity, it’s the Philippine Science system. Parents, alumni and administrators alike recognize that not all students can pay their way for everything, hence the creation of all these groups and organizations that offer financial support to students. Whether rich or poor, students in the Philippine Science system are guaranteed the full high school experience.