UP records increase in applications from free tuition law

MANILA, Philippines – Free tuition in state and local universities and colleges (SUCs, LUCs) is now in full swing, and greeting it was an influx of students applying to state and local universities and colleges.

Such was the case, at least, for the University of the Philippines (UP).

The country’s top university announced it received a spike in applications due to Republic Act No. 10931 or the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act. (READ: 8 things you need to know about the free tuition law)

“UPCAT applicants are estimated to have risen to 167,000 this year from 103,000 last year, largely because of the free-tuition policy,” the university said in an official Facebook post.

Lines snaking around the UP Diliman campus were seen earlier Monday, July 30, with some aspiring students camping out as early as Sunday night in hopes they could beat the crowd. (LOOK: UPCAT applicants camp out, faint lining up in Diliman)

Why this matters: Analysts argued RA 10939 could result in an influx of students applying to SUCs and LUCs.

Many private colleges also expressed concerns of a “mass exodus” with free tuition now offered in public universities.

Responding to this scenario, Commission on Higher Education officer-in-charge Prospero de Vera III earlier said the influx of applicants will be "taken care of by the admission test," which ensures only qualified students get admitted.

De Vera also said CHED was not expecting a large number of students to transfer from private colleges and universities to institutions covered by the free tuition law.

He said universities, whether public or private, had strict transferee requirements and that students in higher levels were usually already adjusted to their respective universities.

How much does free tuition cost? More than P40 billion has been allotted for the first year of implementation of the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act.

The P40 billion will be divided accordingly:

In the post, UP clarified all applications submitted today, whether in person or by courier, would be accepted. Applications sent via mail will also not be considered late if posted today.

The university likewise repeated that today was the deadline for submission of the application forms of students from Metro Manila private high schools.

Meanwhile, the deadline for submission for Metro Manila public schools remains on August 3 and regional private and public schools on August 10. – Rappler.com

Sofia Tomacruz

Sofia Tomacruz covers foreign affairs, the overseas Filipino workers, and elections. She also writes stories on the treatment of women and children. Follow her on Twitter @sofiatomacruz. Email her at sofia.tomacruz@rappler.com.