CHED to prohibit SUCs from charging fees
Paolo Romero (The Philippine Star) - December 13, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Higher Education (CHED) will soon issue a memorandum prohibiting state universities and colleges (SUCs) from charging mandatory fees.

The commitment to issue such a memo came out during the deliberations on the proposed budget of the CHED at the Senate last week.

“Under the law, SUCs are not allowed to collect mandatory fees. We must continue to push for 100-percent compliance of SUCs,” Sen. Paolo Benigno Aquino IV said during the budget deliberations.

During interpellation of the CHED budget, Aquino expressed his concern that a few SUCs may still collect miscellaneous and other mandatory fees from students, despite the expressed prohibition under Republic Act 10931 or the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act.

He said he learned of the move when making rounds of the SUCs in the past weeks.

Collecting fees would negate the aim of the law to allow poor students to study and graduate with minimal expenses.

Aquino said the law should be enjoyed by students and their families so that they can cope with daily expenses amid the high prices of food and other goods.

Even if some of the fees amount only to a few hundred pesos per semester, such payments mean a lot to poor families, according to Aquino.

In response, CHED chairman J. Prospero de Vera III agreed to issue a draft memorandum that will clarify and warn SUCs that students should not pay a single centavo to enroll in an SUC, local university or college, or technical-vocational institution run by the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority.

 Aquino sought to expand the coverage of the free college law to cover on-the-job training, affiliation fees for nursing students and other related learning experiences. 

He also pushed for better support for SUCs through additional plantilla position for non-teaching personnel, such as security personnel, registrar, guidance counselors and resident ombudsman, among others.

 The Department of Budget and Management, for its part, committed and allocated money for this endeavor and was simply waiting for the recommendation from CHED. 

COMMISSION ON HIGHER EDUCATION
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