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NTA doubles scholarship slots for college students

The National Tobacco Administration has doubled the number of scholarships for deserving and qualified dependents of tobacco-growing farmers under its Tobacco-Free Education Program (TFEP).

NTA Administrator Edgardo D. Zaragoza said 284 scholarships were available for incoming college freshmen of school year 2015-2016, or nearly twice last year’s 138 grants.

NTA TFEP is embodied in Republic Act No. 9211 or Tobacco Regulation Act of 2003. The program covers both four-year degree courses and technical or vocational courses.

The agency gives preferences to those who will enrol in an agriculture-related field of study.

“This is to benefit more stu­dents, giving priority to those who would be enrolling in courses pertaining to agriculture, in consonance with the program of government to encourage farm­ers’ children to help sustain agricul­ture in the country,” Zaragoza said.

Of the total scholars for the past two school years, 38% were enrolled in agriculture and related courses.

Since its initial implementation in SY 2011-2012, a total of 739 chil­dren of tobacco farmers have been supported under the TFEP grants, of which 104 have finished their degree and non-degree courses as of June 2015.

The slots are distributed among its eight provincial branches, with NTA Candon (Ilocos Sur 2nd District) having the biggest allocation at 70 slots.  Occidental Mindoro field office, which was only given 2 slots for the first time last school year, was given 18 more slots or a total of 20 in this year’s reallocation.

Zaragoza said that the original program provided only for tuition. “A reasonable monthly allowance to the scholars was also provided to ensure that they have a source for transportation and miscellaneous expenses,” he added.

Dr. Cristina C. Lopez, TFEP scholarship committee chairperson, said 23 slots are still available as of date for deserving and qualified children of tobacco farmers.

Interested applicants, she added, may submit their documents for evaluation at the NTA branch office in their respective provinces.  (Neyo Valdez, DA-NTA)

Posted By: Edrillan Pasion

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