THE country’s 113 state universities and colleges (SUCs) will implement the free college tuition law on the second semester this year, Sen. Paolo Benigno Aquino 3rd said on Thursday.
“Students in SUCs all over the country will enjoy the benefits of Republic Act 10931 or Universal Access to
Quality Tertiary Education Act earlier than expected,” he said in a radio interview.
The government initially planned to implement the law next year.
But Aquino said he was informed by the Commission on Higher Education (CHEd) that no tuition and miscellaneous expenses will be collected from students in SUCs as well as CHEd-accredited local universities and colleges (LUCs) this semester.
“So, all those who will enroll (in SUCs) this second semester, there must be no tuition and miscellaneous expenses to be collected from them,” said Aquino, principal sponsor and co-author of RA 10931.
He said that congress agreed to implement the provisions of the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act by November 2017.
“As for the budget, there is still remaining budget from the P8 billion allotted for free tuition from the 2017 GAA. This budget will be used to shoulder this semester’s tuition,” Aquino explained.
Senators have committed to find a budget for the law for the second semester and for next year.
Congress allotted P40 billion in the 2018 national budget for the implementation of RA 10931 for school year 2018-19.
Aquino also urged students who failed to finish their college course to inquire with SUCs if they can go back to school and finish their studies for free.
The law provides free education to students in SUCs, local universities and colleges (LUCs) and TESDA-run voca-tional schools. The government will also shoulder miscellaneous and all other mandatory fees.
Scholarship grants will be made available to students of both public and private college and universities.
The law also provides a new and improved student loan program, where students can apply for financing for other education expenses.