The Palawan State University (PSU) still collects students’ miscellaneous fees despite the Commission on Higher Education’s (CHED) pronouncement that the 113 state university and colleges (SUCs) would no longer collect it starting this second semester.
Acting PSU President Marissa Pontillas justified the move, saying the Republic Act 10931 or the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act providing free tuition, miscellaneous and all other mandatory fees to college students still has no implementing rules and regulations.
“We’ll just wait for the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) to be released because we cannot implement a law without the IRR,” Pontillas told Palawan News on Tuesday, November 14.
“If the IRR says it’s effective second semester and there will be funds, no problem,” she said, further assuring that the university’s thousands of students could get their miscellaneous fee refund.
Senator Paolo Benigno “Bam” Aquino IV, principal author of the said law, told Manila-based reporters last week that the CHED informed him about the non-collection of tuition and other mandatory fees this semester.
“So, all those who will enroll this second semester, there must be no tuition and miscellaneous expenses to be collected from them,” the Manila Times quoted Aquino as saying.
He said this is part of the early implementation of the Republic Act 10931 covering students in SUCs, local universities and colleges and TESDA-run vocational schools
It was signed by President Rodrigo Duterte in August, and was initially set to take effect in 2018.
“Students in SUCs all over the country will enjoy the benefits of this law earlier than expected,” he said, adding that the Congress agreed to implement its provisions starting this month.
To fund this semester’s tuition, Aquino said “there is still remaining budget from the P8 billion allotted for free tuition from the 2017 General Appropriations Act (GAA).”
But in the 2017 GAA, Pontillas pointed out “there was no mention there about miscellaneous fees.”
Meanwhile, Aquino said the Congress has allotted P40 billion in the 2018 national budget to implement the free tuition law in school year 2018-19.
Pontillas, on one hand, said the IRR for the free tuition law is still going through consultations.