Almost 200 universities and colleges will be implementing the Free Tuition Fee law starting this school year; parents and students are eagerly looking forward to an expense-free education because even miscellaneous payments are covered by the act. The government has allotted a P40-billion fund for the first year of the law’s implementation to cover the tuition fee requirements of hundreds of thousands of Filipino students.
What are the important facts that we all need to know about this new law? Who are qualified to enjoy this privilege?
Here are the five important things we all need to know about the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act:
- The free tuition fee applies only to required classes for the semester. This means that a student’s tuition will be free for as long as the subjects he enrolled in are part of the curriculum and are required for him to finish his degree. Reviews, remedial, and enhancement classes are not covered.
- The definition of “miscellaneous”. Apart from tuition fee, the law also covers payments for miscellaneous requirements such as the use of libraries, laboratories, computer rooms, IDs, use of gyms and sports clinics, guidance counseling, medical and dental services, and other related activities.
- Schools must have programs for students from minority groups. The law covers even, and most especially, disadvantaged students and schools are mandated to craft programs to make it easier for them to avail of the free tuition law. Lumads, Muslims, indigenous peoples, persons with disabilities, and students from public high schools and depressed areas are all included in the free tuition fee program and must be accommodated by the said participating schools.
- Opt-out Mechanism. Upon enrollment, a student may decide if he will avail of the free tuition fee program or voluntarily bow out of the offer. This is expected of students who have the financial capacity to shoulder his tuition and miscellaneous expenses. He will be required to submit a notarized waiver and will then be considered as a paying student for that particular semester. They have the chance to change their decision in the next semesters.
- Student Loan Program. Under the Free Tuition Fee Law, students will be given the privilege of an education loan. This shall be implemented in partnership with banks and similar financial institutions and will be discussed in detail in the IRR.
Stay tuned for more updates as the CHED discloses more information on this news. The IRR is expected to be released on Monday, March 26, 2018.