The Free Higher Education for All Act (S.B. No. 1304)

 

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SEVENTEENTH CONGRESS OF THE REPUBLIC             )
OF THE PHILIPPINES                                                             )

First Regular Session                                                               )

Version 2

As of Mar 7, 2017, 10:30 AM

 

 

SENATE
S.B. No. 1304


Prepared jointly by the Committees on Education Arts and Culture and Finance with Senators Recto, Villanueva, Ejercito, Aquino IV, Gatchalian, Pangilinan, Angara, Legarda as authors thereof


 

AN ACT

ACCELERATING UNIVERSAL ACCESS TO TERTIARY EDUCATION BY PROVIDING  TUITION SUBSIDY AND FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE TO STUDENTS ENROLLED IN STATE UNIVERSITIES AND COLLEGES (SUCs), PRIVATE HIGHER EDUCATION INSTITUTIONS (HEIs) AND TECHNICAL-VOCATIONAL INSTITUTIONS (TVIs) AND APPROPRIATING FUNDS THEREFOR

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the Philippines in Congress assembled:

1     SECTION. 1. Short Title. – This Act shall be known as the “Free Higher Education
2    for All Act.”

3       SEC. 2. Declaration of Policy. – It is hereby declared that
4      universal access to quality education is an inalienable right of the Filipino.
5      Therefore, it shall be the policy of the State to make higher education accessible to all,
6        especially to the financially disadvantaged but deserving students BY recognizing
7        The complementary roles of public and private higher education
8        institutions     (HEIs)     and technical-vocational institutions     (TVIs)     in
9        delivering quality education. Towards this end, the State shall renew its
10      constitutionally mandated duty to make education its top budgetary priority by
11     providing tuition subsidy and financial assistance
12     to students in State Universities and Colleges (SUCs), private HEis and TVIs.

13     SEC. 3. Definition of Terms. – As used in this Act, these terms shall mean:
14         a) Cost of Tertiary Education refers to (1) tuition, and Other School Fees, (2)
15              Educational Expenses, and (3) the cost of living allowance;
16          b) Educational Expenses refer to expenses related to the education of a student,
17                such as books, school supplies, and electronic devices necessary foreducation,
18                but excluding tuition and miscellaneous and Other School Fees;
19           c) Higher Education refers to the stage of formal education, or its equivalent,
20               requiring completion of secondary education and covering programs of study
21                leading to bachelor and advanced degrees;

 

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1         d) Higher Education Institution (HEI) refers to an institution of higher learning,
2                   primarily offering bachelor and advanced degree programs;
3         e) Other School Fees refer to those fees which cover other necessary costs
4                     supportive of instruction, including, but not limited to, medical and dental,
5                      athletic, library, laboratory, and miscellaneous fees;
6        f) State Universitiesand Colleges(SUCs) refer to publicHEIsestablished by national
7                      laws which are financed and maintained by the national government, and are
8                      governed by their respective independent boards of trustees or regents;
9        g) Technical-Vocational Education and Training (TVET) refers to the post-secondary
10             education or training process which involves, in addition to general education,
11             the study of technical and related fields and the acquisition of practical skills
12             relating to occupations in various sectors, comprising formal (organized
13             programs as part of the school systems) and nonformal (organized classes
14             outside the school system) approaches;
15        h) Technical-Vocational Institutes (TVIs) refer to learning institutions offering post-
16              secondary TVET;
17        i)    Tertiary Education refers to the stage of education following the secondary cycle 18                which subsumes post-secondary nondegree diploma, TVET, and Higher
19                Education programs; and
20        j)    Tuition Fee refers to the fee representingdirect costs of instruction, training and 21                 other related activities and for the students’ use of the instruction and training 22                facilities;
23         k) Unified Student Financial Assistance System for Tertiary Education (UniFAST)
24              refers to the harmonized, state-run and administered system of Higher
25              Education and technical-vocational Scholarships, Grants-in-Aid, Student Loans, 26              and other modalities of StuFAP created by Republic Act No 10867;
27        l)    Student Financial Assistance Program (StuFAP) refers to a system of
28          Scholarships, Grants-in-Aid, Student Loans, subsidies and other incentives which
29            are or shall be made available to eligible students;
30        m) Grant-in-Aid refers to a modality of financial assistance to poor but eligible
31               students which generally requires a minimum level of competence to complete
32             Tertiary Education;
33       n) Scholarship refers to a modality of financial assistance given to eligible students
34             on the basis of merit and/or talent, such as laudable academic performance, and
35             special technicalproficiencies and skillsand intellectualpursuitsofa Scholar that
36           give rise to research and development, and innovations as well as other creative
37            works;
38       o) Student Loan refers to a modality of student financial assistance consisting of
39              short-term or long-term loans which shall be extended to students facing
40              liquidity problems, regardless of economic status, which shall be paid by the
41           student, parents, guardians, or co-makers;

42     SEC. 4. Eligibility to the Full Tuition Subsidy. – All Filipino citizens who are either
43     currently enrolled at the time of effectivity of this Act, or shall enroll at any time
44     thereafter, in courses in pursuance of a bachelor’s degree, certificate degree, or any
45     comparable undergraduate degree in any SUC shall qualify for a full tuition subsidy;
46    Provided, That they meettheadmission requirementsof the SUC;Providedfurther, That

 

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1   all SUCs shall create a mechanism to enable students with the financial capacity to pay
2  for their education in the SUC to opt out of the tuition subsidy or to make a donation to
3   the school.

4     SEC. 5. Exceptions to the Full Tuition Subsidy. — The following are ineligible to
5        avail of the full tuition subsidy in SUCs:

6     a) Persons who have already attained a bachelors degree or equivalent degree
7            from any higher education institution, whether public or private;
8     (b) Students who fail to complete their degree and/or non-degree
9             programs within a year after the period prescribed in their
10           program; and
11     [(b)] (c) Persons who have been dishonorably discharged from any higher education
12               institution, whether public or private, for any reason other than financial
13               difficulty in paying tuition and other fees.

14   SEC. 6. SUC Tuition Subsidy Fund. – The SUC Tuition Subsidy Fund, hereinafter referred
15  to as the Fund, is hereby established. The Fund shall be used solely for the purpose
16  of implementing the full tuition subsidyunder the provisions of this Act. Tuition
17  for units enrolled by persons eligible for the tuition subsidy under the provisions of this
18  Act, payable to SUCs, shall be sourced from this Fund.

19   SEC. 7. Administration of the Fund. – The Fund shall be administered by the
20    Commission on Higher Education (CHED), which shall have the following powers and
21     functions:

22     a) Manage and administer the Fund;
23      b) Devise a reporting mechanism to be implemented by the SUCs which will detail
24           the exact amount of tuition subsidy availed of by persons eligible for the full
25           tuition subsidy under this Act;
26      c) Formulate and implement an efficient and transparent mechanism to ensure the
27           payment of the tuition subsidy, utilizing money from the Fund, to the respective
28           SUCs, pursuant to this Act;
29      d) Resolve and mediate disputes concerning the ineligibility or disqualification of
30             persons from the full tuition subsidy under the provisionsof this Act or any other
31            provision of this law; and
32      e) Any other powers or functions necessary for the implementation of the
33            provisions of this Act.

34     SEC. 8. Requirements for SUCs. – SUCs are hereby mandated to fulfill the
35        following before accessing the Fund:

36      a)    Establish a qualifying mechanism, which shall be meritocratic and equitable.
37              This shall include but not be limited to a qualifying examination and an
38               affirmative action mechanism for financially disadvantaged students;
39  b)       Determine and publish the maximum number of students the SUC can
40             accommodate per campus  and degree program.    For    the    initial
41             implementation of this Act, the maximum number of students SUCs may
42             accept shall be equivalent to the total number of students that were enrolled
43           in the school year prior to the effectivity of this Act. For subsequent years,

 

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1        SUCs may increase their number of students subject to conditions set by and
2                                     upon the approval of CHED;
3        c)        Submit the following documents to assist the CHED in implementing this Act: 4                    i.            Previous enrollment rate, student demographics and other relevant
5                                            information;
6                    ii.      Graduation rate, performance in previous licensure examinations,
7                                            and employability rate of graduates;
8                   iii.     Gross tuition receipts;
9                    iv.     Teachers’ welfare and training profiles; and
10                   v.     Other educational quality indicators, including but not limited to
11                          physical learning infrastructures, teacher-to-student ratio and student
12                            housing; and
13         d)       Formulate and submit to CHED and
14                    to the committee on education of the senate and the
15                    committee on higher and technical education of the house of
16                    representatives a detailed SUC Development Plan updated every ten
17                   years, which shall include plans for facilities and infrastructure development
18                    and expansion.

19      The submissions to CHED shall be subject to the Commission’s determination of
20      completeness. Provided, That CHED shall have the right to request for additional
21        information from the SUCs. Provided further, that any plans of expansion shall be
22       approved and defended before CHED and Congress during the SUCs’ budget hearing.

23  SEC. 9. Tuition Report. – The President of each SUC shall submit to the CHED,
24 within five (5) days after the last day of late registration for each semester, a report
25 detailing the names of persons eligible for the full tuition subsidy in their institution, as
26 well as the amount of tuition due based on the number of units enrolled.

27 SEC. 10. Payment from the Fund. — The CHED shall ensure the full payment of tuition
28  due to the state university or college, as reported under this Act, no later than
29 thirty days after the submission of the report to the CHED; Provided, That the CHED
30  shall reserve the right to withhold or disallow the payment of any reported fees which 31   are perceived to be anomalous or irregular until further investigation has been
32   conducted.

33  SEC. 11. Strengthening Student Financial Assistance Programs (StuFAP). – The CHED,
34  through UniFAST, shall strengthen all scholarships, grants-in-aid, student loans,
35  subsidies and other incentives, to other educational expenses and cost of living
36  allowance that will be incurred by students pursuing higher education in SUCs and
37  private HEIs and TVIs. StuFAPs shall also be made available
38  to cover the cost of tertiary education, fully or partially, to students who wish to pursue
39  tertiary education in other HEIs or TVIs.

40  SEC. 12. Tuition subsidy and financial assistance for students in
41         private HEIs and TVIs. Students who wish to enroll in private HEIs and TVIs
42        shall be covered by the appropriate STuFAPs in such modalities where they
43        qualify as may be determined by the uniFAST board. The subsidy up to the
44        amount approved by the uniFAST board shall cover tution fees and/or

 

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1         Any additional student financial assitance to cover for the other costs
2         of education in the private HEI and TVI of choice, subject to its admission
3         policies.

4         provided, that the amount of tuition subsidy and/or student financial
5         assistance shall be based on the guidelines set forth by the uniFAST board
6         and on the annual budgetary appropriation for this purpose.

7         Provided further, that the conditions stipulated under section 5 of this
8         act shall also apply to students qualified under this section.

9    SEC. 13. Appropriations. – The amount necessary to effectively carry
10  out the provisions of this act shall be included in the annual General
11    Appropriations Act.

12   SEC.  14. Implementing Rules and Regulations. – Within sixty (60) days from
13   the effectivity of this Act, the CHED shall promulgate the implementing rules and
14    regulations necessary for the implementation of this Act.

15  SEC. 15. Separability Clause. – Should any provision herein be declared unconstitutional,
16  the same shall not affect the validity of the other provisions of this Act.

17   SEC. 16. Repealing Clause. – All laws, decrees, orders, rules, and regulations
18    or other issuances or parts inconsistent with the provisions of this Act are hereby
19   repealed or modified accordingly.

20  SEC. 17. Effectivity. – This Act shall take effect fifteen (15) days after its
21  publication in the Official Gazette or in two (2) newspapers of general circulation in the
22  Philippines.

 

 

 

 

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About Joel Tabora, S.J.

Jesuit. Educator
This entry was posted in Official Document, Philippine Educational Reform and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to The Free Higher Education for All Act (S.B. No. 1304)

  1. Karl Llorin says:

    Your dream come true!

    Sent from Yahoo Mail on Android

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