Press Release
April 27, 2017

Bam: Provide free tuition for all SUC students, pass measure ASAP

A senator affirmed that all students in state colleges and universities (SUCS) stand to benefit from Senate Bill No. 1304 or the Affordable Higher Education for All Act once it is enacted into law.

"We commend the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) for coming out with the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) for the allotted budget. But our priority remains to be the passage of the Affordable Higher Education for All Act so all students in SUCs are provided free tuition," said Sen. Bam.

Sen. Bam was referring to the IRR issued by the CHED in connection with the P8 billion earmarked in the 2017 budget for the free tuition fees in SUCs.

The senator stated that under the currently allotted budget, only around half of the students in SUCs stand to benefit from free tuition.

But once Senate Bill No. 1304 is passed into law, every SUC student can avail of free tuition. There will also be a mechanism for more financially-abled students to opt to pay for their tuition fee.

"May mga pagkakaiba ang panukala kumpara sa inilabas na IRR ukol sa paggamit ng inilaang pondo," said Sen. Bam.

"We're hoping to file a resolution and invite CHED to give the Senate a full briefing of the IRR. Kailangan klaro ito sa publiko, lalo na sa mga estudyante at kanilang mga magulang," Sen. Bam announced.

"More importantly, we must ensure the passage of the Affordable Higher Education for All Act in Congress, so that all students in SUCs can avail of free tuition," he added.

During his eight-month tenure as Committee on Education chairman, Sen. Bam pushed for the passage of the Affordable Higher Education for All Act or Senate Bill No. 1304 as principal sponsor and co-author. The measure was approved by the Senate on third and final reading via an 18-0 vote.

After the House passes its own version of the bill, a bicameral conference committee will be held to consolidate both versions. If the final version is ratified by both Houses, it will be transmitted to Malacanang for the President's approval.

"In 1988, secondary education was made free. Now we have the opportunity to pass another major reform - to make tuition free in our state universities and colleges," Sen. Bam asserted.

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