CHED reminds state universities: Charging mandatory fees illegal

Sofia Tomacruz
Commission on Higher Education Officer-in-Charge Prospero de Vera III says state universities can only charge students for optional or degree-related fees

BUDGET BRIEFING. Commission on Higher Education Officer-in-Charge Prospero de Vera III at the Senate hearing on the 2019 budget of the CHED on September 20, 2018. Photo by Angie de Silva/Rappler

MANILA, Philippines – The Commission on Higher Education (CHED) clarified on Thursday, September 20, that state and local universities and colleges (SUCs and LUCs) are not allowed to collect mandatory fees from students.

Upon questioning by Senator Paolo Benigno Aquino IV, CHED Officer-in-Charge Prospero de Vera III said schools may only collect fees which are specific for degrees and not for everyone.

“If it covers all students, it is illegal. If it is degree-specific, they can collect it because the fiscal burden on government is going to increase very high [if they don’t],” De Vera said during CHED’s budget hearing at the Senate on Thursday.

Aquino raised the concern after students and parents complained that schools were still collecting mandatory fees despite the implementation of the free higher education law.

“We’re talking about fees collected by the school. If there are mandatory fees still being collected by the schools, that is illegal now,” Aquino said.

Under the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act, students enrolled in the 112 SUCs and 78 LUCs are entitled to free tuition, miscellaneous fees, and other school fees, including the following:

  • 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 fees

More than P40 billion has been allotted for the implementation of the free higher education law for SY 2018- 2019. Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno also said P51 billion has been allocated for the next school year. –

Sofia Tomacruz

Sofia Tomacruz covers foreign affairs and is the lead reporter on the coronavirus pandemic. She also writes stories on the treatment of women and children. Follow her on Twitter via @sofiatomacruz. Email her at