Thanks to Sen. Bam Aquino’s prodding, the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) will soon issue a memorandum prohibiting state universities and colleges (SUCs) from charging mandatory fees.
“Sa batas natin, bawal nang mangolekta ng mandatory fees ang mga SUC. Dapat ituloy ang laban para sa 100 percent compliance ng mga kolehiyo,” said Sen. Bam during the CHED’s budget hearing.
During interpellation of the CHED budget, Sen. Bam expressed his concern that a few SUCs may still collect miscellaneous and other mandatory fees from students, despite the expressed prohibition under Republic Act 10931 or the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act.
“Sa pag-iikot natin sa mga SUC, nalalaman naming may balak pa ang ilan na mangolekta ng miscellaneous fees,” said Sen. Bam, principal sponsor of Republic Act 10931 during his term as chairman of the Committee on Education.
“Hindi dapat ito nangyayari dahil may batas nang nagsasabi na bawal ang paninigil ng miscellaneous at iba pang mandatory fee,” added Sen. Bam. “Sa batas na ito, sinisiguro na ang kapos, makapagtatapos.”
Sen. Bam insisted that the law should be properly enjoyed by students and their families so they can cope with daily expenses amid the high prices of food and other goods.
“Halos aabot din sa daan-daang piso ang kinokolektang miscellaneous fees sa mga estudyante, pera na dapat ginagamit nang panggastos ng pamilyang Pilipino na pambili ng pagkain at iba pang pangangailangan,” added Sen. Bam.
In response, CHED chairman Prospero de Vera agreed to issue a draft memorandum that will clarify and warn SUCs that students should not pay a single centavo to enroll in an SUC, LUC or TESDA-run TVI
In addition, Sen. Bam sought to expand the coverage of the free college law to cover on-the-job training, affiliation fees for nursing students, and other Related Learning Experiences (RLEs).
Sen. Bam also pushed for the better support for SUCs through additional plantilla position for non-teaching personnel, such as security personnel, registrar, guidance counselors, resident ombudsman, among others.
The Department of Budget and Management (DBM), for its part, committed and allocated money for this endeavor and was simply waiting for the recommendation from CHED.
Sen. Bam said once the CHED gave its recommendation, SUCs can start hiring non-teaching personnel next year.