Press Release
December 11, 2023

Senate OKs free college entrance exams for qualified students

The Senate on Monday, December 11, 2023, moved to make college entrance exams free for qualified Filipino students.

Senators, voting 22-0-0, approved on third and final reading Senate Bill No. (SBN) 2441 or the proposed "Free College Entrance Examinations Act", which would waive entrance examination fees in private higher educational institutions (HEIs) for disadvantaged graduates or graduating students who show potential for academic excellence.

"This free exam can be a recruiting tool aimed at the best and the brightest," said Sen. Francis "Chiz" Escudero, chairperson of the Committee on Higher, Technical and Vocational Education and sponsor of SBN 2441.

"The fee that we're waiving is minimal, and this bill is supported by the association of private schools as well," Escudero added.

SBN 2441 consolidates the bills filed by Senators Ramon Bong Revilla Jr., Mark Villar, Manuel "Lito" Lapid, Christopher Lawrence "Bong" Go, and Raffy Tulfo.

Under the Free College Entrance Examinations Bill, students are exempt from paying examination fees and charges if they: are a natural-born Filipino student; belong to the top 10 percent of their graduating class; and, if they belong to a family whose combined household income falls below the poverty threshold as defined by the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) or cannot afford to provide for their minimum basic needs duly certified as such by the Department of Social Welfare and Development.

Students may avail of the waived entrance exam fees once they satisfy all other requirements specified by the private HEI, the bill stated.

Escudero said the waiver would apply to any private HEIs within the country. The Commission on Higher Education (CHED) would be given the authority to determine and impose sanctions against private HEI officials and employees who fail or refuse to comply with the proposed law.

"Some entrance exam fees are equivalent to a minimum day's wage such that taking the former will mean meals foregone. No family should starve for a day because food money has been traded for an examination fee," the senator said.

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