CHED: Over 2M students benefitted from free tertiary education law

Angelica Y. Yang - Philstar.com
CHED: Over 2M students benefitted from free tertiary education law
This January 2022 photo from the CHED Facebook page shows the commission's office in Quezon City.
CHED Facebook page

MANILA, Philippines — Commission on Higher Education Chairman Prospero de Vera III said Tuesday that more than two million Filipino students have, so far, benefitted from the free quality tertiary education act signed in 2017. 

He made the announcement during the second day of the Duterte Legacy Summit: The Final Report to the People. 

Of the reported number, 1.97 million students across 220 higher education institutions did not have to pay tuition and miscellaneous fees from the academic year (AY) 2018-2019 up until AY 2021-2022. 

Meanwhile, a total of 364,168 grantees benefitted from tertiary education subsidies (TES) and the government's Tulong Dunong Program in the same period. 

Republic Act 10931 or the "Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act" exempts eligible college students enrolled in a bachelor's degree, certificate degree or any comparable undergraduate degree from paying tuition and other school fees. 

"This landmark legislation is truly only and exclusively a tatak Duterte (Duterte's brand) because it was started under the Duterte administration [and] allowed public universities...to launch a program in 2018 that allowed every young Filipino to dream and achieve their education," De Vera said during the summit. 

He added that the RA 10931 did not only benefit state universities and local colleges, noting that majority or around 68% of the grantees of the TES and Tulong Dunong came from private schools. 

According to De Vera, the poverty incidence rates among families in regions where TES beneficiaries live, went down in the first semester of 2021, in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao, Zamboanga Peninsula and Eastern Visayas, among others. These areas experienced a rise in TES grantees since the RA 10931 was enacted.

However, this was not the case for all regions where there was an increase of TES beneficiaries. For instance, the Caraga region, which experienced an increase of over 3,000 TES grantees in the three years ending 2021, had a higher poverty incidence of 31% in the first semester last year, up from 28.3% during the same time in 2018. 

The RA 10931 was passed in the 17th Congress. 

The Senate and House had their own versions of a measure which sought for free quality tertiary education for all students based in state universities and colleges through a full tuition subsidy. The disagreeing provisions of both bills were ironed out by a bicameral conference committee. Duterte eventually signed the consolidated version into law on Aug. 15, 2017.








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