Diokno: Free tuition in SUCs to be implemented in 1st sem of AY 2018-2019
Budget Secretary Benjamin E. Diokno said Friday that Republic Act No. (RA) 10931 or the free tertiary education law in state universities and colleges (SUCs) signed by President Rodrigo Duterte will be implemented next year.
READ: Duterte signs into law bill granting free tuition in SUCs
As such, the law will also entail changes in the proposed 2018 national budget, Diokno said.
“The law is forward looking. It cannot be applied retroactively. Hence, in the immediate term we’re talking of academic year 2018-2019—strictly speaking, the first semester of academic year 2018-2019,” Diokno explained.
“My immediate concerns are those enrolled in the 114 SUCs. There should be no expansion in student population. The estimate has to be preceded by the number of predetermined student who are chosen, say ‘X,’ on the basis of a nationwide test administered by the Commission on Higher Education. Unless we know ‘X,’ we can’t give an estimate,” Diokno said.
Also, “there will be changes in the President’s 2018 budget, which has some P16 billion in various types of scholarships,” Diokno added.
During the first congressional hearing on the proposed P3.767-trillion budget for 2018 last Tuesday, economic managers said a whopping P100 billion will be needed to fully subsidize tuition in SUCs.
Diokno said he will head the committee that will prepare the implementing rules and regulations of RA 10931.
Instead of free tuition in SUCs, the Duterte administration’s economic managers had been pushing for the implementation of a 2014 law that unified and harmonized all financial assistance for students.
Economic managers had said that the government must fully implement the Unified Student Financial Assistance System for Tertiary Education or UniFAST under RA 10687. JPV
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