Students of state universities and colleges (SUCs) all over the country will enjoy the benefits of Republic Act 10931 or Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act earlier than expected.
In a radio interview, Sen. Bam Aquino announced that the 112 SUCs will not collect tuition fees and miscellaneous expenses from students starting this semester. Initially, the government said the law will be implemented starting the school year 2018-19.
Sen. Bam said he was informed by the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) that no tuition fees and miscellaneous expenses will be collected from students this semester.
“Kahapon, kinumpirma ko na implemented na po ito this second semester. So lahat ng mag-e-enrol this second semester, dapat wala nang kinokolektang tuition at miscellaneous expenses,” said Sen. Bam, principal sponsor and co-author of RA 10931.
“Iyong mga staff natin at mga partners sa iba’t ibang lugar, tinitingnan na ang mga SUCs kung wala silang kokolektahing tuition at miscellaneous expenses,” added Sen. Bam.
Sen. Bam also announced that lawmakers have allotted P40 billion in the 2018 national budget for the implementation of RA 10931 for school year 2018-19.
Meanwhile, Sen. Bam encouraged students who failed to finish their college course to inquire with SUCs if they can go back to school and finish their studies for free.
“Natutuwa kami dahil ang batas na ito ay hindi lang para sa kasalukuyang naka-enroll pero sa mga nag-drop-out dahil puwede nilang ipagpatuloy ang kanilang pag-aaral nang libre,” Sen. Bam pointed out.
The law provides free education to students in SUCs, local universities and colleges (LUCs) and TESDA-run vocational schools. Aside from tuition fees, the government will shoulder miscellaneous and all other mandatory fees.
Scholarship grants will be made available to students of both public and private college and universities. It also provides a new and improved student loan program, where students can apply for financing for other education expenses.
In addition, students taking post-graduate studies can avail of the new and improved student loan program and scholarships under the law.
The measure was languishing in the legislative mill for years before it was passed during Sen. Bam’s time as chairman of the Committee on Education in the 17th Congress. This was Sen. Bam’s 19th law in his four years as senator.