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No more free tuition in state schools in 2018

/ 07:30 AM July 28, 2017

It turns out that free tuition in state universities and colleges (SUCs) is just a one-off educational assistance from the administration of self-proclaimed “socialist” President Rodrigo Duterte.

A left-leaning party-list group denounced on Thursday the Duterte administration’s discontinuation of funds intended for free higher education in its budget proposal for 2018.

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In a statement, ACT Teachers Reps. Antonio Tinio and France Castro also revealed the overall budget of the Commission on Higher Education (CHEd) would shrink by P6.29 billion next year.

The proposed budget for CHEd in 2018 is only P12.42 billion, 33.6 percent lower than the current year’s P18.7-billion allocation.

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“This is a huge step backward for the administration—its dismissal of the people’s demand for higher budgets for education,” Castro said.

Tinio, for his part, said tuition in SUCs should be kept free because “the state can afford to allocate funds for education in the tertiary level.”

In the 2017 National Expenditure Program (NEP), the Senate realigned P8.3 billion for student financial assistance.

But instead of continuing with the program, the proposed 2018 NEP submitted by Malacañang on Monday omitted the higher education support fund, currently covered in the 2017 General Appropriations Act (GAA) under special provision 2 of the CHEd budget.

Also missing from the 2018 NEP is the GAA’s special provision 6 under the budget for SUCs, which provides for P3 million in cash grants to medical students for the current year.

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