Demand for slots in SUCs shoots up
Helen Flores (The Philippine Star) - October 25, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — More students have beem seeking to avail themselves of free college education since Republic Act 10931 or the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act took effect this year, Commission on Higher Education (CHED) chairman J. Prospero de Vera III said yesterday.

De Vera cited the case of the University of the Philippines (UP), where the number of applicants rose from around 100,000 to 180,000 this year.

 “Look at UP, it used to get 80,000 to 100,000 applicants for 13,500 slots. The (number of) applicants for UPCAT this year is 180,000,” De Vera said in an interview with ANC.

“The demand is far heavier than the slots available,” he added, noting this was the same in the case of other state universities and colleges (SUCs), including the Polytechnic University of the Philippines.

The university's admission rate is 50 percent of the applicants, according to the CHED chairman.

“Absorptive capacity, that’s the problem now. It’s not so much on financial sustainability, but the demand has really increased,” he said.

To address this, De Vera said CHED is looking at offering open distance learning in areas where facilities are limited.

“One of the things we are looking at now is to go into open distance learning to provide alternative delivery system, where the constraints of the physical infrastructure are not as daunting as the regular residency mode,” he said.

Meanwhile, De Vera said the agency is making sure the quality of education in SUCs would not be compromised with the increase in the number of students applying for free tertiary education in public institutions. 

“The quality is maintained – that we assure everyone, and we will not allow the public university system unduly increase their size to the detriment of the quality of education that is provided,” he said.

“We require state universities not to have open admission because the law requires that they must have admission and retention policies to make sure quality education is there,” he added.

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