This program was established through Section 8 of Republic Act No. 8545, otherwise known as the Expanded Government Assistance to Students and Teachers in Private Education (GASTPE) Act. PESFA offers educational grants to qualified and deserving college freshmen both in degree and non-degree courses. The program seeks to:
extend financial assistance to marginalized but deserving students in post-secondary non-degree courses; promote TVET; contribute to the development of a competent skilled workforce; and assist private institutions in their development efforts by assuring a steady supply of enrollees to their course offerings. The PESFA directed the beneficiaries on the choices of careers to the critical skills requirements of in-demand jobs in the labor market. It also allows for equity distribution of the opportunities made available through government subsidies.