Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act
The Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act is a law in the Philippines that institutionalises free tuition and exemption from other fees in state universities and colleges (SUCs), local universities and colleges (LUCs) in the Philippines. The law also foresees subsidies also for private higher education institutions. It is intended to give underprivileged Filipino students a chance to earn a college degree. It is also known as the Republic Act 10931 and has the full title An Act Promoting Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education by Providing for Free Tuition and Other School Fees in State Universities and Colleges, Local Universities and Colleges and State-Run Technical Vocational Institutions, Establishing the Tertiary Education Subsidy and Student Loan Program, Strengthening the Unified Student Financial Assistance System for Tertiary Education and Appropriating Funds Therefor.
|Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act|
|Congress of the Philippines|
|Citation||Republic Act No. 10931|
|Enacted by||House of Representatives of the Philippines|
|Passed||May 30, 2017|
|Enacted by||Senate of the Philippines|
|Passed||May 29, 2017|
|Signed||August 3, 2017|
|Signed by||President Rodrigo Duterte|
|Bill introduced in the House of Representatives of the Philippines||Universal Access to Quality Education Act|
|Bill citation||House Bill No. 5633|
|Second reading||May 16, 2017|
|Third reading||May 22, 2017|
|Committee report||Committee Report No. 227|
|Bill introduced in the Senate of the Philippines||Free Higher Education for All Act|
|Bill citation||Senate Bill No. 1304|
|Bill published on||January 23, 2017|
|Introduced by||Ralph Recto, et.al. and Principally sponsored by Bam Aquino|
|First reading||January 23, 2017|
|Second reading||March 7, 2017|
|Third reading||March 13, 2017|
|Status: In force|
The law was filed first by senator Ralph Recto, principally sponsored by Senator Bam Aquino, and was signed by Rodrigo Duterte, President of the Philippines, on August 3, 2017. The bill is supported by almost all members of Congress  In September 2017, the chairman of the House Committee on Appropriations announced that P40 billion had been gathered and that this amount would finance all expenses foreseen by the law for 2018.
Before the signing of the bill by the President, the government took the view after intense political discussions that "the long-term benefits that will be derived from a well-developed tertiary education on the part of the citizenry will definitely outweigh any short-term budgetary challenges". The government also stated that the "bottom 20 percent" was to have priority concerning the allocation of subsidies for educational-related expenses.
Requirements and benefitsEdit
To continuously benefit from the law, students must meet all the admission and retention requirements. That is, they need to pass the admission and retention requirements of the universities, which includes finishing their degree on time and enrolling in the required number of units per year.
Persons who have already obtained a bachelor's degree or comparable undergraduate degree from any public or private higher education institution are not eligible for free education.
The Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) foresee different benefits depending on the type of institution in which the student enrols:
- All (eligible) Filipino students enrolled in courses leading to a bachelor's degree in state universities and colleges (SUCs), local universities and colleges (LUCs) and technical-vocational schools will be exempted from paying tuition and other school fees. They are also exempted from admission fees and fees for the use of library, laboratory and computers. For those enrolled in technical-vocational schools, further fees are exempted, including the cost of utilities, facilities, equipment and tools maintenance, as well as the honoraria of trainers. Other school fees that are covered are specified under Sections 4 and 5 of RA 10931 and are further detailed in the Implementing Rules and Regulations.
- For those enrolled in private higher education institutions, a subsidy for tuition and other school fees is available.
The law also includes provisions for student loans. According to the IRR, students with financial capacity may opt out of the benefits foreseen by the law.
- Resolution No. 620 – Reimbursements of fees paid for 2018:
- In February 2018, the Senate unanimously passed Senate Resolution No. 620 (Adopted Resolution No. 85) which called for the full and immediate implementation of the new law in the second school semester of 2017–2018. The senator who had sponsored this resolution, Bam Aquino, urged schools to adhere in full to the new law, which was all the more necessary as Filipino families were shouldering rising prices in goods and services due to the passage of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) law, and to refund whatever fees they may have continued to collect for that semester.
- Free Tuition 2017 program – Reimbursements based on an income-based ranking:
- The Free Tuition 2017 program allowed SUCs received reimbursement for deserving students already for first semester of academic year 2017–2018, based on an income-based ranking of the students.
- Mario Casayuran (2017-06-03). "Proposed law to make education a right, not a political favor". news.mb.com.ph. Retrieved 2017-09-01.
- "CHED issues implementing rules and regulations on free tuition law". philstar.com. 2018-03-27. Retrieved 2018-09-01.
- "Find out who really should get credit for sponsoring, authoring free tuition bill in Senate". politics.com.ph. August 7, 2017.
- "Lawmakers laud signing of free tuition bill". cnn. 2017-08-04.
- Argyll Cyrus Geducos (2017-08-04). "Duterte signs bill on free tuition in SUCs". news.mb.com.ph. Retrieved 2017-09-01.
- Ellson Quismorio (2017-09-21). "Free college education fund now complete". news.mb.com.ph. Retrieved 2018-09-02.
- Implementing Rules and Regulations, Rule II, Section 6: Exceptions to Free HE.
- Implementing Rules and Regulations, Rule II, Section 7: Benefits.
- Hannah Torregoza (2018-02-13). "Aquino bats for refund of fees collected by SUCs". news.mb.com.ph. Retrieved 2018-09-02.
- "CHED on COA Report: Free Tuition 2017 reimbursements to SUCs almost complete".
- Republic Act no. 10931 (Republic Act no. 10931 PDF)
- Republic Act no. 10931, LAWPHiL project
- Implementing Rules and Regulations
- Senate Resolution No. 620: Immediate Implementation of the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act
- FAQ relating to the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act by Senator Bam Aquino, August 11, 2017
- List of universities and colleges with free tuition starting 2018, CNN, March 16, 2018