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CHED, DBM release guidelines on free tuition policy

The budget ceiling for each higher institution is based on their estimated tuition income as stated in the budget of expenditures and sourced of financing submitted to the Department of Budget and Management. The STAR/File photo
MANILA, Philippines - The Commission on Higher Education (CHED) and the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) have released the guidelines on the grant of free tuition to students in state universities and colleges (SUCs).
 
The joint memorandum, dated April 20 and published in newspapers on Friday, provided the implementing rules on the disbursement of the P8 billion that was included in the 2017 budget to remove tuition in government-funded schools.
 
It also showed the breakdown of the budget allocation for the 114 SUCs operating in the country.
 
The budget ceiling for each higher institution is based on their estimated tuition income as stated in the budget of expenditures and sourced of financing submitted to the DBM.
 
Based on the breakdown of allocation, the Cebu Technological University will have the highest budget ceiling at P379.192 million followed by the University of the Philippines System with P367.872 million.
 
Other universities that will have more than P200 million budget ceiling include the Bukidnon State University (P285 million), Mindanao University of Science and Technology (P261 million), Cavite State University (P238 million), Batangas State University (P236 million) and the Polytechnic University of the Philippines (P204 million).
 
A total of P7.789 billion was allocated to the SUCs, with the remaining reserved for the conduct of supplemental activities such as technical assistance, monitoring and evaluation.
 
The budget ceiling will cover the academic year 2017-2018.
 
Given the budget limitation and President Rodrigo Duterte’s previous statement to give priority to financially disadvantaged students, the DBM and CHED came up with a system prioritizing certain students in SUCs.
 
The joint memorandum said student beneficiaries of existing nationally-funded student financial assistance programs (StuFAPs) will be the first to be enrolled in SUCs.
 
The tuition of those receiving more than P15,000 in benefits will still be charged to the relevant allocation of StuFAPs, while the tuition of those receiving below P15,000 will be charged from the free tuition allocation to the university or college.
 
After the enrollment of those receiving benefits from StuFAPs, the remaining students will be prioritized as follows: graduating students, non-graduating students who belong to the government’s conditional cash transfer program, students belonging to the Listahan 2.0 program of the Department of Social Welfare and Development and non-graduating students based on their household per capita income.
 
If funds are still available, tuition of new enrollees or returning students will also be covered.
 
The DBM and CHED said all SUCs should assess the eligibility of students as early as four weeks before the enrollment period.
 
Students are required to submit documents including identification cards, completed registration forms, household member cards for conditional cash transfer beneficiaries and documentation of proof of income.
 
SUCs should release the ranking of the students before the start of the enrollment period.
 
“Existing enrollment procedures of SUCs shall largely be observed. However, the SUCs should inform the students at the earliest possible time whether they qualify for the tuition subsidy or not, and try to provide the best options for those who cannot be accommodated by any government financial assistance program,” read the memorandum.
 
“The major change in the enrollment procedures shall be that tuition fees will not be collected from qualified students but charged to the higher education support fund or to the StuFAPs (if the student is receiving benefits amounting to more than P15,000),” it added.
 
Unused appropriations will be returned to the general fund at the end of the validity of the budget.
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