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Gov’t needs P20B to fully subsidize free tuition—Ched

Prospero de Vera - Palace news briefing - 20 June 2017Prospero de Vera - Palace news briefing - 20 June 2017

Ched Commissioner Prospero de Vera III at a Palace briefing. (File photo by KING RODRIGUEZ / Malacañang)

The Commission on Higher Education (Ched) on Thursday said the government would need at least P20 billion to fully subsidize the tuition and other fees in state universities and colleges (SUCs) in the country starting 2018.

Ched Commissioner Prospero de Vera III said the budget would be allocated to 112 SUCs and 16 local universities and colleges (LUCs) in the country.

“So the estimates that we have for the first year of implementation of the law is about 16.8 billion pesos for the state universities and colleges—for the 112 SUCs—and the 16 local government created universities, which have been evaluated by the Commission on Higher Education,” De Vera said in a Palace briefing. “And add to that, between 3 to 4 billion pesos for technical and vocational education under TESDA.”

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READ: Duterte signs into law bill granting free tuition in SUCs

“So the amount that we’re working on for the 2018 budget is a little around 20—a little over 20 billion pesos,” he added.

De Vera said part of the funding would come from “current scholarship and financial assistance money already existing in the budget of several government agencies.”

“We’re looking at current scholarship and financial assistance money already existing in the budget of several government agencies. And this includes CHED, DOST, Department of Agriculture—there are existing scholarship programs,” he said.

“So we’re looking at the utilization of money in the current scholarship programs and see how much of these can be put into the allocation for 2018. And then together with the House of Representatives and the Senate, we will look for other funding sources from the 2018 National Expenditure Program,” he added.

On August 3, President Rodrigo Duterte signed a law granting tuition-free education in all SUCs despite opposition from his economic managers.

Amid concerns on the influx of students from private schools to public institutions, De Vera said Ched was looking into more stringent admission and retention policies for SUCs and LUCs.

“So there are other components of the law that we’re looking at including ensuring that state universities and colleges and LUCs tighten their admission and retention policies so that only students, for example, who enroll on a full load and finish their course on time will be able to access the funding assistance of government,” he said.

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“We will also exclude students who are doing their second degree, for example, and make sure that the enrollment of state universities, colleges and LUCs will be controlled. So we will be telling the state universities—to the SUCs and the LUCs—to make sure that their admission and retention policies do not adopt an open admission,” he added. JPV


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