Proposed free education in SUCs to cost gov’t P258B a year—CHEd
free education for all students in state universities and colleges (SUCs) would cost the government
P258 billion a year, the head of the Commission on Higher Education (CHEd) told a Senate hearing on
During the hearing of the Senate subcommittee on finance, Senator Loren Legarda
asked CHEd officials how much it would cost the government to pay for education of all students in
Legarda noted that there are many deserving students who could not avail of free
education simply because they don’t know a single politician who would endorse their scholarship.
“In short, if we were to include in next year’s budget free college education in any SUCs,
how much would it cost? Because I don’t think a lawmaker should list and list and list the names.
There are many deserving individuals, who may not know a congressman or a senator, or a mayor,
who may be deserving,” she said.
“If we are able to provide free college education for
everyone, even without a congressman or a senator naming these individuals…Bakit kailangan kilala
kami? Dapat libre basta makapasa ng requirements (Why do they have to know us? It should be free
as long as they pass the requirements). So how much would that be?” asked the senator.
Based on their estimate, CHEd chairperson Patricia Licuanan said, the government would have to
spend P258 billion a year to pay for the education of all students in SUCs.
Licuanan said the
estimate had already factored in the expected influx of students migrating from private schools to
avail of the free education in public institutions.
“But if we stick to the current enrollment (in SUCs), it’s P118 billion (a year),” the official
“I withdraw my suggestion…” Legarda said and instead asked the CHEd to submit its
estimate cost if the free education would be limited only to poor students and those taking the STEAM
or Science, Technology, Engineering, Agriculture-Fisheries and Mathematics subjects.
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