If measure on free tuition in SUCs is enacted into law
If enacted into law, the measure providing free tuition in state universities and colleges (SUCs) will lead to more college graduates and higher paying jobs, giving underprivileged students a chance at a brighter future, according to Sen. Bam Aquino.
“We’ve already passed the Affordable Higher Education for All Act in the Senate and we’re confident it will become law within the year,” said Sen. Bam, the principal sponsor and co-author of Senate Bill No. 1304.
“Kapag ito’y naisabatas, mas malaki na ang pagkakataon ng ating mga estudyante na makatapos ng kolehiyo at magkaroon ng magandang trabaho,” he added.
During his short stint as chairman of the Committee on Education, Sen. Bam defended the measure on the floor during plenary debates and interpellation. The measure was approved by the Senate on third and final reading via an 18-0 vote.
After the House passes its own version of the bill, a bicameral conference committee will be held to consolidate both versions. If the final version is ratified by both Houses, it will be transmitted to Malacanang for the President’s approval.
The measure aims to institutionalize free tuition in SUCs all over the country, giving underprivileged students a chance to earn a college degree.
It will also streamline and strengthen all Student Financial Assistance Programs (StuFAP), making it available to students who want to pursue higher education in private institutions, as well as subsidizing other expenses of SUC students.
Sen. Bam clarified that the measure is different from the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) released recently by the Commission on Higher Education and the Department of Budget and Management.
The senator said the IRR issued by the CHED and DBM was for the P8 billion earmarked in the 2017 budget for the free tuition fees in SUCs.
The senator stated that under the currently allotted budget, only around half of the students in SUCs stand to benefit from free tuition.
However, if Senate Bill No. 1304 is passed into law, every SUC student can avail of free tuition. There will also be a mechanism for more financially-abled students to opt to pay for their tuition fee.