CHED: No budget cut for free higher education in 2019

Published August 15, 2018, 3:56 PM

by Patrick Garcia

By Merlina Hernando-Malipot

There will be no reduction in the budget implementing Free Higher Education for Academic Year (AY) 2019 – 2020, according to the Commission on Higher Education (CHED).


CHED Officer-in-Charge Dr. J. Prospero De Vera III described as “misleading” some media reports on alleged massive cuts in the 2019 budget allocation for the “Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act” (RA 10931).

“The Duterte administration approved P40 billion for RA 10931 for AY 2018-2019,” De Vera said in a statement. “The proposed 2019 National Expenditure Program (NEP) will add an additional P11 billion for the Free Higher Education program,” he added.

De Vera noted that the “increased funding will allow the CHED and the Unified Financial Assistance System for Tertiary Education (UniFAST) to continue to provide free tuition, miscellaneous and other school-related fees to students in 112 State Universities and Colleges (SUCs) and 78 CHED-recognized Local

Universities and Colleges (LUCs).” This, he added, “will also be used in the implementation of the Tertiary Education Subsidy (TES) and National Student Loan Program (NSLP).”

Meanwhile, De Vera said the P7 billion budget for Free Technical-Vocational Education and Training (TVET) “will directly be given to the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) in 2019.”

‘Rock solid’ support

De Vera stressed the support of President Duterte for Free Higher Education is “rock solid” since 2017 and “will continue” in 2019.

In 2017, De Vera said P8 billion was realigned to CHED for the implementation of the Free Tuition in 112 SUCs and close to 900,000 students did not pay their tuition fees starting June 2017. “This number is expected to increase starting June 2018 to approximately 1.3 million students with the implementation of RA 10931,” he added.

De Vera also clarified that the additional budget for RA 10931 in the proposed 2019 NEP “will allow CHED to reimburse tuition and miscellaneous fees of incoming freshmen starting June 2019 and increase the number of beneficiaries of the Tertiary Education Subsidy (TES), which provides additional stipends for students’ books, transportation and other expenses.”

Signed into law in August last year, RA 10931 will be implemented starting Academic Year (AY) 2018-2019 with a P40-Billion allocation in the 2018 General Appropriations Act for its first year implementation.

RA 10931 will provide free higher education which will cover tuition, miscellaneous, and other fees in 112 State Universities and Colleges (SUCs) and 78 CHED-recognized Local Universities and Colleges (LUCs); a Tertiary Education Subsidy (TES); free Technical-Vocational Education and Training (TVET) for those enrolled in state-run Technical Vocational Institutions, and a Student Loan Program (SLP).