THE Commission on Higher Education (CHED) is set to craft guidelines for implementation of the P8-billion budget for free tuition in all state universities and colleges (SUCs) for the next academic year, CHED Chairman Patricia Licuanan said on Friday.
“To bring the country closer to the reality of free college education, the commission will work overtime to ensure that the wisdom and specific intentions of lawmakers will be accurately reflected in the free tuition guidelines it is set to create,” Licuanan added in a statement.
“The Commission on Higher Education supports the inclusion of an P8-billion budget for free tuition for all undergraduate students in all state universities and colleges as a special provision in the 2017 General Appropriations Act,” she said.
Licuanan added that the commission will coordinate with other oversight government agencies to ensure the legality of all proposed processes and procedures in the guidelines.
“CHED will also coordinate with all private higher education institutions, both individually and through their various associations, to help ensure their role under this new policy regime. CHED will also work closely with the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority for improved complementation,” she said.
“In the short term, this will incrementally improve enrolment rates, and will help free up financial resources for other college expenses and needs of the students. From a wider perspective, this amount will eventually increase the available income of families,” the CHED chairman added.
Fund spending “will be guided by fairness, cost recovery and alignment of incentives,” she said.
“CHED will ensure that the wide-reaching implications of this major reform in higher education will be brought about effectively, and any negative consequences will be minimized. The timing of this reform is fortunate, as a strong political will and a robust economy allow the country to embark on major reforms that were not possible in the past,” the CHED chairman added.
NEIL A. ALCOBER