Free tuition in SUCs eyed with P8.3-B CHED infusion

Kimberly Jane Tan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 16 2016 10:59 AM | Updated as of Dec 16 2016 11:38 AM

Tuition in the undergraduate programs of all state universities and colleges (SUC) will soon be free following the additional P8.3-billion funding granted to the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) for next year, the agency's head said Friday.

In an interview on ANC, CHED Chairperson Patricia Licuanan said the P8.3 billion initially for projects in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) has been reallocated to their agency.

"The intention is all state universities and colleges would no longer charge undergraduate tuition so that P8 billion is supposed to cover undergraduate tuition in all state universities and colleges," she said.

The P8.3 billion is part of the P3.35 trillion Philippine budget which was recently ratified by Congress.

Also included in the CHED budget is P5.8 billion for the continued implementation of student financial assistance programs such as the PAMANA Study Grant Program, Iskolar ng Bayan, Tulong-Dunong Program and scholarship grants for children of sugarcane workers and other small farmers.

An allocation of P4.6 billion was also included for the continued implementation of the K to 12 program and P763 million for the Philippine-California Advanced Research Institutes Project.

Free tuition in SUCs eyed with P8.3-B CHED infusion 1
University of the Philippines. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

Licuanan, however, said she can't give a lot of details yet regarding the free tuition policy since they are still working on the guidelines on how it will be implemented.

"I guess that is the P8-billion question but we will have to find a formula for this," she said.

"But right now the all SUCs are going to be asked or instructed not to collect tuition so we have to distribute this to all as well," she added.

She also noted that eventually they hope to come up with a formula that would prioritize the needy.

"That would be our initial preference, to kind of calibrate it in a way that those who need it more will get more," she said.

"Free tuition will help tremendously. It will free I guess resources of families and students for the other costs... because there are other costs to getting a college education," she added.

Licuanan meanwhile clarified that SUCs can still charge for other fees and graduate school tuition.