Senator Loren Legarda confirmed on Monday that the free college education will be implemented in academic year 2018-2019 after its funding is included in the 2018 budget.
Legarda said that the 2018 General Appropriations Act (GAA) funds the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act (RA 10931), which means that students who will enroll in state universities and colleges (SUCs), local state universities and colleges (LUCs), and state-run technical vocational institutions (TVIs) no longer need to pay for tuition and other school fees.
Legarda, Chair of the Senate Committee on Finance, said that Php40 Billion was allocated for the implementation of RA 10931, a law that she co-authored and co-sponsored.
“Access to education remains to be a major concern, especially for poor families who would want their children to finish college. I am happy to report that we can now provide free education up to the tertiary level. With this, we hope to further bring down the number of out-of-school youth as well as improve the quality of all our learning institutions,” Legarda said, who advocated for free tertiary education even before the enactment of RA 10931.
It will be recalled that Legarda pushed for the additional Php8.3 Billion allocation under the 2017 Commission on Higher Education (CHED) budget, which provided for free college education in SUCs for Academic Year 2017-2018.
With the 2018 budget for free tertiary education, Filipino students who will enroll in Academic Year 2018-2019 for a bachelor’s degree, certificate degree, or any comparable degree in any SUC or LUC, as well as enrollees in any post-secondary Technical-Vocational Education and Training (TVET) in state-run TVIs, are exempted from paying tuition and other school fees.
Other school fees include admission, registration, entrance, development, guidance, athletic and cultural fees, as well as fees for library, computer, laboratory, school ID, handbook, medical, dental, and other similar or related fees charged by SUCs, LUCs and TVIs which cover other necessary costs supportive of instruction.
“While the law mandates SUCs, LUCs and TVIs to create a mechanism to enable students with the financial capacity to pay for their education to voluntarily opt out of the tuition and other school fees subsidy, I urge CHED to strengthen monitoring of the implementation of the law to ensure that we are prioritizing those who truly need this subsidy,” said Legarda.
“Education is the best investment for our nation and our people. It is incumbent upon us to prioritize education in our budget in order to cultivate leaders and nation builders of tomorrow and we must ensure that every Filipino is given a fair chance to access quality education that will open better opportunities for growth,” Legarda concluded. [via Senate website]