Commission on Higher Education (CHEd) Chairperson Patricia B. Licuanan announced that the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) for the Free Tuition Policy entrenched in the 2017 General Appropriations Act (GAA), is set to be submitted to the Department of Budget and Management (DBM).
Following Pres. Rodrigo Duterte’s injunction to implement the rule, a task force was formed made up of representatives from CHEd, DBM, the Philippine Association of State Universities and Colleges (PASUC), Coordinating Council of Private Educational Associations (COCOPEA), and staff from the Senate and the House of Representatives.
With the concerned parties settling all issues, the IRR will go through the DBM’s review and is expected to be signed this month. Upon approval, State Colleges and Universities (SUCs) will proffer their operating budget requirements to CHEd and payments will be given prior to the beginning of the academic year.
A budget of P8.3 billion is appropriated for the Free Tuition Policy, and both CHEd and DBM will see to it that this will profit “financially disadvantaged but academically able students”, following the President’s instruction. According to Licuanan, they will “conduct a comprehensive information campaign soon after to ensure that deserving students have the chance to benefit from this game-changing policy in higher education”.
This initiative continues to support CHEd’s drive to provide financial aid and scholarship funding to poor students across the country. Just last year, CHEd’s Student Financial Assistance Programs (StuFAPs) peaked at P5.6 billion, helping over 289,000 students and boasting an increase of roughly 400%. Another project for the less-privileged, the Expanded Student Grants in-Aid Program for Poverty Alleviation (ESGP-PA), supports more than 40,000 of the poorest SUC students in the country, with an annual budget amounting to P2.5 billion. This program started to set in motion in 2012-2013 to finance school and livelihood needs of students and their families so the grantee will have no reason to not complete his college degree.
The Commission on Higher Education continues to strengthen policies on accessible education for the Filipinos.
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