By Mario Casayuran
Opposition Senator Paolo Benigno Aquino IV reminded students at state universities and colleges (SUCs) that the collection of tuition and miscellaneous fees is illegal.
“Isang taon na mula nang maisabatas ang Free College Law. Sa ilalim nito, karapatan niyong hindi magbayad ng tuition at miscellaneous fees sa SUCs,” he said. (The Free College Law was passed a year ago. Under this statute, students have the right not to pay tuition and miscellaneous fees at SUCs.)
Aquino is the principal sponsor of Republic Act 10931 or the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act.
During dialogues with different sectors, Aquino said he has received reports that some SUCs are still collecting miscellaneous and other mandatory fees from students.
During a Senate finance sub-committee hearing on the budget of the Commission on Higher Education (CHEd), Aquino warned SUCs against collecting fees from students.
“If there are mandatory fees still being collected by the schools, that is illegal now,” he said.
Aquino also called on the government to fully implement the Free College Law, saying it should not deprive poor students a chance at a better life through education.
“Prayoridad dapat ang edukasyon. Ito ang susi sa kaunlaran ng pamilyang Pilipino,” he pointed out, adding that the Free College Law will provide poor families respite from the high prices of goods and services. (Education should be the government’s priority. It is the key to the good future of a Filipino family.)
Aquino had worked for the passage of the measure during his time as chairman of Committee on Education in the 17th Congress.
Republic Act 10931 provides free tuition and miscellaneous fees to students in state universities and colleges (SUCs), local universities and colleges (LUCs) and TESDA-run vocational schools.
The law also states that students of both public and private college and universities could also apply for scholarship grants and student loans.