over lapses in free tuition
National Union of
Students of the Philippines
March 1, 2018
QUEZON CITY – This
student union seeks to respond to the report of the Commission on
Higher Education (CHED) that the free tuition program is already in
full implementation across the country.
The National Union of
Students of the Philippines, the country’s broadest alliance of
student councils, considers the CHED release of a status report on
the free tuition program as the defense mechanism of the government
to cover up the messy implementation of free tuition.
The Duterte administration
has been very proud of this program and even uses free tuition to
stop students from voicing out their opinions on government
policies. However, clamor from students all over the country pressed
CHED to finally admit the lapses of the program.
Thousands still paid
tuition and other school fees
According to CHED, around
900,000 students did not pay tuition for the first semester of
Academic Year (AY) 2017-2018. Unfortunately, with around 1.2 million
undergraduate enrollees in state universities and colleges (SUCs) as
of June 2017, CHED indirectly admits that as much as 300,000
students still paid tuition despite the availability of enough funds
to cover the tuition of all undergraduate students.
Furthermore, CHED failed
to block the attempts of several SUCs to still collect tuition and
other school fees as a result of the late disbursement of funds by
CHED to SUCs. Among those schools is the Polytechnic University of
the Philippines, where miscellaneous fees amounting 2,000 to 4,000
pesos are still collected from students. In addition, first year
students were still charged tuition fees despite the existing free
The Union also gathered
reports that some students in University of the Philippines (UP)
Diliman were forced to opt out of the policy and had to pay tuition
even though they were qualified for free tuition. To augment their
resources, colleges in UP Diliman devised income-generating schemes
such as the imposition of new or higher fees on the use of
classrooms, halls and public spaces.
incidents are results of the lapses of CHED. It announced that it
has already disbursed to almost all of the SUCs their share of the
free tuition funds as of February 2018. The agency seems to be proud
of this. As a matter of fact, CHED released the funds several months
late! As stated in the Implementing Rules and Regulations for the
free tuition policy, CHED must have disbursed the funds in July 2017
for schools that held their first semester enrollment period in
Delaying tactics through
The provision of free
education in SUCs is long overdue, thanks to CHED for the delays in
coming up with the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of RA
10931 or the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act.
CHED is spoiling the intended objectives of free education by
further tampering the IRR to give room for the interest of private
school owners for profits.
CHED shares the phobia of
private school owners on the huge possibility of an exodus of
students from private schools due to this law. To accommodate their
desires, CHED willingly creates another wave of headaches as it
implements free education. The planned voucher system for college
students and the student loan program will simply ensure the private
sector’s share of students’ and public funds.
Students, senate press
Filipino students stand
united with the Philippine Senate in pressing the Commission on
Higher Education (CHED) to provide free college education by
ensuring that collection of fees are terminated immediately.
Around seventy (70)
student regents, trustees, council officers and leaders from
universities all over the country signed a statement demanding that
CHED must end to the collection of tuition and other school fees in
SUCs, and ensure the refund of all fees paid by students when they
enrolled for the second semester of this academic year. Meanwhile,
the Senate passed a resolution signed by all senators, pushing CHED
to swiftly implement RA 10931.
NUSP will stage protests
to oppose the collection of fees in SUCs as well as the planned
increase in fees in private universities.