CHED: 1.33 million students attended college tuition-free in 2019
MANILA, Philippines — About 1.33 million college students in state universities and colleges across the country did not have to pay their tuition and miscellaneous fees in 2019 under the free higher education law, the Commission on Higher Education revealed Wednesday.
CHED chairperson Prospero de Vera said the number is almost half of the approximately three million college enrollees for that year. It was up from 1.18 million students recorded in 2018.
Aside from those benefitting from the free tuition, CHED also recorded an increase of beneficiaries in the agency’s scholarship program Tertiary Education Scholarship, from 288,000 beneficiaries in 2018 to 557,000 in 2019.
In total, about 1.79 million college students are beneficiaries of the government’s programs, De Vera said.
“The issue of access in the assessment of the commission has improved in terms of the students that are benefiting,” he said.
However, De Vera admitted that CHED is being challenged in disbursing funds for reimbursement of tuition and miscellaneous fees due to administrative and manpower issues.
He said the manpower of CHED across the country is only less than 1,000 and about 600 are plantilla positions.
He also said that many of the processes by which the CHED operate remain manual; thus, delays in the disbursement have been exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic.
“We ask for the indulgence of the education stakeholders, talagang bumagal ‘yung pag-reimburse ng tuition and miscellaneous and pagbigay ng TES dahil sa COVID,” the CHED official said.
“That is the biggest problem that we encounter, the administrative limitations and the manpower limitations,” he added.
The CHED is proposing a budget of P50.928 billion for 2021. This is up by 6.39% from its budget of P47.906 billion in 2020.
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