No tuition collection in UP Diliman 'until gov't clear' about subsidy policy

MANILA, Philippines – The Diliman campus of the University of the Philippines (UP) announced Tuesday, July 11, that there will be no collection of tuition for the first semester of academic year 2017-2018 "until government is clear about their plan" on the tuition-free policy. 

In a text message sent to Rappler, UP Diliman Chancellor Michael Tan clarified reports that no tuition and miscellaneous fees will be collected by UP's flagship campus for the upcoming school year.

"There will be no collection of tuition until government is clear about their plan. They are not clear yet as to how much subsidy there will be: partial or complete, and who will be eligible. Until they clarify, we will not collect any amount from students," he said.

Tan has yet to give more details of the plan as of this posting. 

Sought for comment, UP vice president for public affairs Jose Dalisay Jr said the UP administration is still studying the best way of implementing the tuition-free policy, given the resources at their disposal. 

"But students wishing to avail themselves of free tuition will still have to submit proper documentation, as the CHED-DBM guidelines require for UP to be reimbursed," Dalisay said. 

He added: "UP thanks the President, Congress, and CHED for seeking to relieve our students and their families of the burden of tuition, but we hope that their support will also extend to miscellaneous fees and other expenses."

Last April, the government announced that state universities and colleges (SUCs) will prioritize beneficiaries of government student financial assistance programs in the implementation of the tuition-free policy which has an P8-billion allocation under the 2017 budget.

The Commission on Higher Education (CHED) and the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) back then issued a joint memorandum that detailed the implementing guidelines on the grant of free tuition in SUCs nationwide. (READ: Medical students to get free tuition in 8 SUCs)

Based on the memorandum, the tuition-free policy 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 Higher Education Support Fund (HESF)." 

Aside from the HESF, both chambers of Congress also ratified in May the bicameral conference committee report on a bill that seeks to provide free tuition and other school fees in SUCs, local universities and colleges, and government-run technical-vocational institutions.

The bill now awaits President Rodrigo Duterte's signature–

Jee Y. Geronimo

Jee is part of Rappler's Central Desk, handling most of the world, science, and environment stories on the site. She enjoys listening to podcasts and K-pop, watching Asian dramas, and running long distances. She hopes to visit Israel someday to retrace the steps of her Savior.