THE Commission on Higher Education (CHED) has released the Enhanced Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act or Republic Act 10931, a landmark legislation that seeks to provide free tuition to college students enrolled in public higher education institutions.
The free higher education law was signed by President Rodrigo Duterte on August 3, 2017, with a P40-billion allocation in the 2018 General Appropriations Act by Congress.
“All Filipimo college undergraduates enrolled in state universities and colleges [SUCs] and CHED-recognized Local Universities and Colleges [LUCs] shall no longer pay tuition and other school fees, subject to admission and retention policies of institutions and future qualification policies mandated by the UniFAST Board,” CHED officer-in-charge Chairman Prospero de Vera said at a news briefing on Wednesday.
Starting academic year 2018-2019, the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act will provide free tuition, miscellaneous and other similar or related fees defined by the IRR for students enrolled in SUCs and CHED-recognized LUCs.
Miscellaneous fees include library, computer, laboratory, school ID, athletic, admission, development, guidance, handbook, entrance, registration, medical, dental and cultural fees.
“The law also provides a tertiary education subsidy or grants-in-aid, free technical-vocational education and training for those enrolled in state-run technical vocational institutions, and a national Student Loan Program,” de Vera said.
All SUCs, LUCs and technical vocational institutions shall formulate and implement affirmative action programs to be able to extend additional benefits to disadvantaged students, indigenous peoples, persons with disabilities and students from depressed areas.
These action programs shall be approved by the respective governing boards and submitted to CHED within one year after the approval of the IRR.
The Unified Student Financial Assistance System for Tertiary Education (UniFAST) is the agency created under RA 10687 mandated to implement all the identified programs stated in RA 10931.