Senate Passes Bill Granting Free Tutition in State Universities and Colleges
At least 18 senators voted to pass a bill that would provide free tuitions and financial assistance to students in state universities and colleges (SUCs) and other private higher learning and vocational institutions.
The bill passed the senate on third and final reading.
According to Senator Benigno “Bam” Aquino, co-author and sponsor of the Senate Bill entitled as Senate Bill No. 1304 of the “Free Higher Education for All Act,”, the proposed law aims to make higher education more accessible to financially disadvantaged but deserving students by providing them with free tuitions and other financial assistance to SUCs.
During his speech when he sponsored the bill on the floor when he was the former chair of the Senate committee on education, arts and culture, he claimed that in line with the order of the country’s constitution, the government must uphold the right of all its citizens to quality education at all levels.
Meanwhile, Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto, also the co-author and co-sponsor of the proposed law, expanded the bill to include students in both public and private higher education institutions (HEIs) and technical-vocational (TVIs) as well.
Under the proposed law, all Filipino citizen students who are currently enrolled in SUCs and other covered educational institutions, and those who plans to enroll in the future in courses in pursuance of a bachelor’s degree, certificate degree or any similar undergraduate degree in any SUC across the county can be entitled for the free tuition fee, as long as they meet the admission requirements of a certain SUC.
“This bill is for the Filipino youth who are struggling to finish their college education, and as well as their parents who are working hard to pay for the expenses of their schooling,”
Unfortunately for students who had already attained a bachelor’s degree or any equivalent degree, those who had been discharged or dropped out from any higher education institution and those who failed to complete their degree or non-degree within a year upon the set period in their program would not be qualified for the proposed free tuition fee.
So far, there are approximately 645,566 students in SUCs all over the country. Thus, making tuition fee free would possibly cost the government nearly P16 billion each year, citing the annual weighted average tuition in SUCs is P9,407 a year, according to Senator Aquino.
“It’s a fair price to embolden and empower more Filipinos to achieve their dreams—for themselves, for their families, and for their country.. If we pass SBN 1304, we’re investing in the future of your promising Filipinos,”
Other than Senator Benigno “Bam” Aquino and Senator Ralph Recto, other co-authors of the bill are Senator Sonny Angara, Senator Leila De Lima, Senator Sherwn “Win” Gatchalian, Senator Joseph Victor “JV” Ejercito, Senator Richard “Dick” Gordon, Senator Loren Legarda, Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan, Senator Cynthia Villar, Senator Joel Villanueva and Senator Juan Miguel “Migz” Zubiri.