Free tuition for SUCs in 2nd semester of SY 2017-2018 – Bam Aquino

Mara Cepeda

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Free tuition for SUCs in 2nd semester of SY 2017-2018 – Bam Aquino

LeAnne Jazul

(UPDATED) Senator Bam Aquino says Congress will provide CHED an additional P40 billion for the implementation of the free tuition law next year

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Students of 112 state universities and colleges (SUCs) will no longer need to pay for their tuition and other fees during the second semester of the current school year (SY) 2017 to 2018.

This was according to Senator Paolo Benigno “Bam” Aquino IV on Thursday, November 9.

Aquino, principal author of the law in the Senate, said the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) informed him about the non-collection of tuition fees.

The senator said this will be implemented under Republic Act (RA) Number 10931 or the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act, set to take effect in 2018. But CHED clarified on Friday they will still be sourcing funds from the 2017 budget for the non-collection of tuition and fees this semester, 

Kahapon, kinumpirma ko na implemented na po ito this second semester. So lahat ng mage-enroll this second semester, dapat wala nang kinokolektang tuition at miscellaneous expenses,” said Aquino.

(Yesterday, I was able to confirm that it will be implemented this second semester. So no tuition and miscellanous expenses should be collected from those enrolling this second semester.)

The senator said his staff and partners in different areas nationwide will check for SUCs’ compliance with the law.   

The free tuition law was signed by President Rodrigo Duterte in August. The President was not expected to give his approval to the measure, which was strongly opposed by his economic managers. CHED also did not include appropriations for RA 10931 in its proposed budget for 2018.

Congress had added P8.3 billion to CHED’s budget this year so that students in SUCs no longer needed to pay for their tuition for SY 2016 to 2017. (READ: What’s next after SUCs’ non-collection of tuition in the 1st semester?)

CHED Commissioner Prospero de Vera III said the government would spend an estimated P16.8 billion for the first year of implementation of the free tuition law in 112 SUCs. Another P3 billion to P4 billion will be used for technical-vocational education. 

On Thursday, Aquino said Congress will provide CHED an additional P40 billion for the free tuition and fees of SUCS in 2018. – 

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Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda specializes in stories about politics and local governance. She covers the Office of the Vice President, the Senate, and the Philippine opposition. She is a 2021 fellow of the Asia Journalism Fellowship and the Reham al-Farra Memorial Journalism Fellowship of the UN. Got tips? Email her at or tweet @maracepeda.