Published: Friday 16 December, 2016

Free Tuition Fee in Philippine State Universities a Reality by 2017

Tuition fees will be free in state universities and colleges (SUC) in the Philippines starting 2017. This after the approval of the 2017 national budget in Congress.

Free Tuition Free in UP and State Us

Tuition will be free in state universities starting 2017. (PHOTO: Inquirer)

Free tuition fee in college will be a reality for thousands of Filipino students stating next school year. State universities and colleges, including the University of the Philippines, will no longer collect tuition fees after the infusion of an P8-billion budget into the Commission on Higher Education (CHEd) purposely for free tuition fee.

This was announced by several senators after the approval of the P3.35-trillion national budget for 2017 that includes the P8 billiob for CHEd. All that is needed now for it to be final is President Rodrigo Duterte’s signature. And that seems like a done deal after Duterte said he would sign the budget as soon as he arrives from Singapore tonight.

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Aside from lawmakers, CHEd chairperson Patricia Licuanan was likewise happy with the good news.

“For that P8 billion, that’s purely for tuition. That’s purely to remove tuition from the students’ expenses. So ngayon, they can say that sa lahat ng state universities and colleges (SUCs), wala nang tuition,” Licuanan said when interviewed by GMA News.

“That’s the intention of the P8 billion. We cannot spend that P8 billion on anything else except to compensate the schools for the fact that they can no longer charge tuition, all state universities and colleges if fully implemented,” she added.

But there is more work to be done before the free tuition fee for all SUCs is fully implemented. According to CHEd, they will still have to work out how to allocate the huge amount to the 113 state universities and colleges in the Philippines equitably.

“Logistically, it will be a little bit difficult too. How do you divide that P8 billion with 113 SUCs? Kasama na rin daw ang UP pala doon,” said Licuanan. “So, what formula do you use? Ang tuition fee ng school times the number of enrollees. So mga challenges like that. But we are working on it.”

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In an interview with ABS CBN News, meanwhile, Licuanan said that CHEd also wants to ensure that free tuition fee will benefit those who really need it, those who cannot afford to send their children to college because of the cost.

Licuanan said she hopes they can come up with a formula that would prioritize the needy.

“That would be our initial preference, to kind of calibrate it in a way that those who need it more will get more,” she said.

And, while, only free tuition fee is covered by the new budget, students in need of financial assistance for other expenses can still avail of grants and aid for miscellaneous fees under various programs.