MANILA – Through the government’s Free Higher Education program, some 1.6 Filipino students are no longer paying tuition and miscellaneous fees, the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) reported Tuesday.
“Sa free higher education close to 1.6 million students are no longer paying tuition and miscellaneous fees,” CHED Chairman J. Prospero de Vera III said during a presser on the 1st National Higher Education Day.
Of this number, 1.3 million are beneficiaries from 112 state universities and colleges (SUCs) while at least 300,000 are from local SUCs.
De Vera said for the school year 2020-2021 alone, around 500,000 slots were also opened for the tertiary education subsidy, much higher than the 200,000 slots when the law was passed.
“Hindi pa kasama ang scholarship sa agriculture (and) ng DOST so pag tinotal mo lahat yan lagpas two million student ang natutulungan ng gobyerno ngayon (Other scholarships are not yet included in that number so when you total it, it would reach over two million students). I don’t think that has ever happened in our history,” he said.
The Republic Act 10931, known as the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act was signed into law in August 2017 by President Rodrigo Duterte, providing underprivileged Filipino students the opportunity to pursue college degrees through free tuition and exemption of other fees in SUCs.
It further allows Tertiary Education Subsidy that sponsors the enrolment of disadvantaged students in private institutions in locations where there are no available state or local universities and colleges.
“(I believe) close to 2.5 million students are being assisted by government financially. That has never happened in history and that is the basis for CHED claiming victory for Philippine higher education,” de Vera said.
During the opening ceremony of the National Higher Education Day, President Rodrigo Duterte commended the agency “for ensuring the highest standard” in the country’s higher education institutions despite the challenges the Philippines currently faces.
He urged all stakeholders and CHED to continue their efforts to empower the Filipino youth.
“May this occasion further strengthen your resolve in teaching and learning under the new normal. As you mark this milestone, I also hope that you will continue working towards creating a more responsive and innovative learning environment for both educators and students,” he said. (PNA)