What is this free tuition program for Philippine State Universities and Colleges , Academic Year 2017-2018?

The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) and the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) have jointly issued the implementing guidelines for the use of the P8-billion Higher Education Support Fund (HESF) under the government’s free tuition program.

The HESF is included in the 2017 General Appropriations Act and is intended for use by the country’s state universities and colleges (SUCs) for the academic year 2017-2018. President Duterte has ordered the conditional implementation of the free tuition program “to give priority to financially disadvantaged but academically able students.”

According to the joint memorandum, the free tuition program will cover “all Filipino students enrolling in undergraduate course programs in SUCs for the academic year 2017-2018, subject to the prioritization directive of the President and the availability of funds in the HESF.”

SUCs will not collect tuition from students and will instead charge this against the HESF. Miscellaneous and other fees are not covered by the program, and thus may still be collected from the students.

Student beneficiaries

Beneficiaries of government student financial assistance programs (StuFAPs) will be given priority by their respective SUCs. The tuition fees of those receiving more than P15,000 in benefits will still be charged against their StuFAP allocations, while the tuition fees of student beneficiaries who are getting less than P15,000 will be charged from the SUC’s free tuition allocation.

After all government StuFAP beneficiaries have been given slots, continuing students in their respective SUCs are next in line for available slots. They will be further prioritized according to the following order, subject to the availability of funding:

1. Graduating students with one semester remaining, regardless of household per capita income;
2. Graduating students with one academic year remaining, regardless of household per capita income;
3. Non-graduating students who belong to a household that is or was a beneficiary of 4Ps (Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program);
4. Non-graduating students who were never part of a household that is or was a beneficiary of 4Ps but is still included in the Listahanan 2.0, ranked according to their predicted per capita household income; and
5. Non-graduating students ranked according to their per capita household income based on submitted documentation(s) for proof of income.

If there are still funds available, new enrollees and returning students who are not receiving more than P15,000 in benefits from any StuFAP will also be eligible for the government’s free tuition program, in the following order:

1. Graduating students with one semester remaining, regardless of household per capita income;
2. Graduating students with one academic year remaining, regardless of household per capita income;
3. Non-graduating students who belong to a household that is or was a beneficiary of 4Ps;
4. Non-graduating students who were never part of a household that is or was a beneficiary of 4Ps but is still included in the Listahanan 2.0, ranked according to their predicted per capita household income; and
5. Non-graduating students ranked according to their per capita household income based on submitted documentation(s) for proof of income.


SUC budget and preparations

The budget allocation for each SUC is based on the estimated tuition income they submitted for the 2017 Budget of Expenditures and Sources of Financing.

The SUCs are required to conduct an assessment on the eligibility of students based on the 4Ps, Listahanan 2.0, and StuFAP beneficiaries. Before the enrolment period, the SUCs should have ranked all assessed students according to the order of priority as stated above.

The existing enrolment procedures of each SUC will largely be observed. However, the SUCs are being required to inform the students, as early as possible, if they qualify for the tuition subsidy or not. The SUCs are encouraged to provide the best options for students who cannot be accommodated by any government financial assistance program.

CHED Chairperson Patricia B. Licuanan gave her assurance that the proper implementation of the program will be carried out. “As we implement Free Tuition 2017, we are being guided by the president’s directive to prioritize financially disadvantaged but academically able students—we will do our best to ensure that the fund goes to those who need it most.”

CHED DBM Joint Memorandum Circular No. 2017 -1 by Noemi Lardizabal-Dado on Scribd

More questions on the Free Tuition Program

Tanong: Sino ang makikinabang sa Free Tuition Program ng gobyerno?

Sagot: Makikinabang ang lahat ng estudyante ng kolehiyo sa mga State Universities and Colleges (SUCs) sa bansa. Unang makakatanggap ng benepisyo ang mga StuFAP (Student Financial Assistance Program) beneficiaries. Kung ang StuFAP benefit ng isang bata ay P15,000 pababa, kasama na siya sa Free Tuition Program. Kung ito naman ay higit pa sa P15,000, ibabawas pa rin ito sa kanyang StuFAP benefit.

Tanong: Paano naman ang mga walang StuFAP?

Sagot: Kung may sobrang badyet pa ang SUC, makakasali rin sa Free Tuition Program ang mga walang StuFAP. Para sa mga estudyanteng ito, uunahin ang pinakamahirap.

Tanong: Anu-ano ang mga dokumento na kailangang isumite ng isang estudyante para makalibre ng tuition sa kolehiyo?

Sagot: Hindi lahat ng mag-aaral ay kailangang mag-sumite ng mga dokumento. Kung ang mag-aaral ay nasa listahan ng gobyerno (Listahanan 2.0), kasali na siya kaagad sa mga mauunang makikinabang sa Free Tuition Program. Tanging ang mga mag-aaral na hindi kasama sa listahan at ang mga medyo nakakaangat na sa buhay ang magsusumite ng mga sumusunod na dokumento:

a. Identification forms na tatanggapin ng SUC
b. Kumpletong registration forms
c. 4Ps identification card (kung may 4Ps beneficiary sa pamilya)
d. Proof of income katulad ng Income Tax Return (kung kailangan ng patunay tungkol sa kita ng pamilya)

Tanong: Libre ba ang tuition taun-taon hanggang makapagtapos ng kolehiyo ang isang estudyante?

Sagot: Ang Free Tuition Program ay ipapatupad lamang sa Academic Year 2017-2018.

Tanong: Ano ang proseso upang makasali sa programang ito?

Sagot: Susundin pa rin ang proseso ng enrollment sa bawat SUC. Ang mga estudyante ay dadaan sa assessment sa SUC upang malaman kung sila ay papasok sa programa na kanilang napili. Kung ang isang estudyante ay nakapasa at tinanggap ng SUC, doon pa lamang malilibre ang kanyang tuition.

Tanong: Wala na bang babayaran ang mga estudyanteng kasama sa programang ito?

Sagot: Hindi maaaring maningil ng tuition fee ang lahat ng SUC sa bansa. NGUNIT, ang ibang school fees ay maaaring kolektahin, tulad ng Miscellaneous fees, Laboratory fees, at iba pa. Imbes na magbayad ng tuition ang mga estudyanteng papasa sa assessment, ang tuition fee nila ay babayaran ng CHED.

Tanong: Libre na ba ang tuition sa lahat ng paaralan?

Sagot: Libre ang tuition sa lahat ng State Universities and Colleges sa bansa. Hindi kasama ang mga pribadong eskwelahan.

Tanong: Ilang estudyante ang makikinabang sa programang ito?

Sagot: Depende sa dami ng mag-eenrol, sa kakayahan, at sa badyet ng bawat SUC.

Noemi Lardizabal-Dado is a Content Strategist with over 11 years experience in blogging, content management, citizen advocacy and online media publishing and over 21 years in web development. Otherwise known as @MomBlogger on social media, she believes in making a difference in the lives of her children by advocating social change for social good.

She is a co-founder and a member of the editorial board of Blog Watch . She is a resource speaker on social media , blogging, digital citizenship, good governance, transparency, parenting, women’s rights and wellness, and cyber safety.

Her personal blogs such as aboutmyrecovery.com (parenting) , pinoyfoodblog.com (recipes), techiegadgets.com (gadgets) and beautyoverfifty.net (lifestyle) keep her busy outside of Blog Watch.

Disclosure:

She is a Senior Consultant for ALL media engagements for the PCOO-led Committee on Media Affairs & Strategic Communications (CMASC) under the ASEAN 2017 National Organizing Council since January 4, 2017. Having been an ASEAN advocate since 2011, she has written extensively about the benefits of the ASEAN community and as a region of opportunities on Blog Watch and aboutmyrecovery.com.

Organization affiliation includes Scrap Pork Network. I do not support or belong to any political party . Family friends with House Representative Pia Cayetano and Former Senator Alan P. Cayetano. I did not vote for any presidential candidate in the 2016 elections.

Updated July 30, 2017

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