MANILA, Philippines – The Commission on Higher Education (CHED) formally launched the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of the free tuition law on Monday, March 26.
Starting school year 2018 to 2019, the government will shoulder the tuition and fees of students enrolled in 112 state universities and colleges, 78 local universities and colleges, and technical-vocation (tech-voc) education and training programs registered under the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA).
The IRR of Republic Act No. 10931 or the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act also includes provisions detailing how students can avail of loans and other subsidies to help fund their tertiary education. (READ: 8 things you need to know about the free tuition law)
The same document also states financially-able students may either opt out of the free higher education provision altogether. Likewise, students may avail of the free tuition law’s benefits but also contribute a specific amount to their higher education institution of choice.
CHED officer-in-charge Prospero de Vera III said P40,000,919,000 has been allotted for the first year of implementation of the free tuition law.
Of this number, P16 billion is set aside for free higher education, P 7 billion for free tech-voc education, P15.851 billion for tertiary education subsidy, P1 billion for student loan program, P11 million for the Tertiary Education Tracking and Reporting System, and P11 million for the administrative cost of the Unified Student Financial Assistance System for Tertiary Education (UniFAST) 2018.
De Vera led the signing of the IRR along with other officials representing the following government agencies, which comprise the UniFAST Governing Board:
- Department of Science and Technology
- Department of Education
- Department of Labor and Employment
- National Youth Commission (NYC)
- National Economic Development Authority
- Philippine Association of State Universities and Colleges
- Coordinating Council of Private Educational Association
- Association of Local Colleges and Universities
- Government Service Insurance System
- Social Security System
The free tuition law’s signing was also attended by Senators Ralph Recto, Juan Edgardo Angara, Paolo Benigno Aquino IV, Davao City 1st District Representative Karlo Nograles, Sorsogon 1st District Representative Evelina Escudero, and NYC Chairperson Ice Seguerra, whose resignation will take effect on April 5. – Rappler.com