Govt earmarks P20B for free college education law but calls on state schools to ‘control’ admission


THE Duterte administration will earmark P20 billion from the proposed P3.7 trillion budget for 2018 to fund the implementation of the Free College Education law in 2018, an education official said on Thursday.

Commissioner Popoy de Vera of the Commission on Higher Education (CHEd) made the announcement a day after Rep. Karlo Nograles of Davao City disclosed that Congress and the Executive department were considering pooling P16.8 billion from scholarship funds of various government agencies and P8 billion from the 2017 scholarship allocation.

Nograles is chairman of the appropriations committee of the House of Representatives.

READ: Funding for free college ‘no longer a problem’

“We estimate that the law will cost us P16.8 billion for SUCs (State Colleges and Universities), and between P3 and P4 billion for the technical and vocational courses under TESDA (Technical Education and Skills Development Authority),” de Vera said.

In addition, de Vera clarified that the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of the new law would not allow the SUCs to adopt an open admission system, meaning they cannot accept all students without the students passing an entrance exam, and that SUCs will be required to restrict students from private universities from transferring to the SUCs by not allowing transferees in the second, third and fourth year levels.

“The SUCs should have a controlled admission. They need to tighten their existing admission and retention policies so that there won’t be massive transfer of students from private universities to SUCs. Of course, we need this [policy of controlled admission]so that the SUCs won’t be tempted to take everybody in just because they will be subsidized by the government,” de Vera added.



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