What the ‘free tuition’ law means for students from state universities and colleges

Photo from PhilSTAR Archive

When President Duterte signed the free tuition act into law last August 3, many of us had a lot of questions. There was lots of confusion about when the law would be enacted, especially considering that the school year was already starting.

These questions were recently answered by CHED, so we’ve compiled the answers to the most common questions about R.A. 10931 below. If you want to read the full law, you can access it here. Remember that the full implementation guidelines are still being drafted, so the facts listed below are still subject to change.

 

What is the free tuition act?

R.A. 10931, or the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act is an act that will provide for free tuition and other school fees in state universities and colleges (SUCs), local universities and colleges (LUCs) and state-run technical vocational institutions (TVIs).

 

What kinds of fees does the law cover?

Under the law, the government will provide for the following:

  • Tuition
  • Other school fees – library fees, computer fees, laboratory fees, school ID fees, athletic fees, admission fees, development fees, guidance fees, handbook fees, entrance fees, registration fees, medical and dental fees, cultural and other similar or related fees
  • Educational expenses – books, school supplies, uniforms, reproduction  of materials, electronic devices necessary for education and other fees such as for practical teaching devices, student publication, yearbook, insurance, and student trust funds
  • Cost of living allowance

 

To whom does the law apply to?

Once the law is implemented, all Filipino students from 112 of the country’s SUCs, 16 of its LUCs, and a still undetermined number of state-run TVIs will be able to benefit from the full tuition subsidy. While it will give priority to students who are academically able and who come from poor families, the prioritization will be as follows:

  • student beneficiaries of existing nationally funded student financial assistance program (StuFAP)
  • graduating students
  • non-graduating students who belong to the government’s conditional cash transfer program
  • students belonging to the Listahan 2.0 program of the Department of Social Welfare and Development
  • non-graduating students based on their household per capita income

 

Additionally, all beneficiaries must have passed the entrance exam and admission and retention requirements of their respective SUCs, LUCs, or TVIs. It does not cover students who don’t complete their undergraduate degree program within a year after the period prescribed by the program and anyone with a certificate or bachelor’s degree.

 

How do we apply for free tuition?

In a report by The Philippine Star, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) and CHED said that eligibility for the tuition subsidy will be determined as early as four weeks before the enrolment period. Students are required to submit documents including identification cards, completed registration forms, household member cards for conditional cash transfer beneficiaries and documentation of proof of income to apply for eligibility.

 

Where will the funds come from?

Mostly, next year’s national budget (a.k.a the 2018 National Expenditure Program) of 3.767 trillion. The government also plans to obtain funds from existing scholarship and financial assistance programs of various departments, including CHED, DOST, and the Department of Agriculture.

 

When is it going to be implemented?

Filipino students can now expect the full implementation in the country by June 2018 (AY 18-19). The Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) is being drafted by CHED, TESDA, DBM, and DOST.

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#FYI #politics #school

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