THE Commission on Higher Education (CHED) must ensure that all 118 local universities and colleges (LUCs) in the country are eligible to offer free tuition under the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act of 2017, Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian yesterday said.
Gatchalian, chairman of the Senate committee on basic education, stressed that the law mandates LUCs to comply with certain policies, guidelines, and standards so they can offer free college tuition to students.
With only 15 more LUCs that have yet to be accredited, Gatchalian said CHED should coordinate closely with these institutions to help them meet their prerequisites and become eligible to offer free tuition and subsidies.
The CHED last month signed an agreement with the Unified Student Financial Assistance System for Tertiary Education (UniFast) and 27 LUCs that will be offering free tertiary education for Academic Year 2019-2021. Aside from free tuition, CHED-accredited LUCs also offer subsidies.
There are only 76 LUCs that have started offering free tertiary education and subsidies since the law took effect in 2017.
“Mahalaga ang papel ng mga lokal na pamantasan at mga kolehiyo upang gawing abot-kaya ang dekalidad na edukasyon. Kung masisiguro natin na may kakayahan ang lahat ng mga paaralang ito na magbigay ng libreng edukasyon, mas marami tayong matutulungan na mga kabataan sa iba’t ibang panig ng bansa na makapagtapos at magkaroon ng maayos na kinabukasan (LUCs play an important role in giving quality and affordable education accessible to all. We can help many youths have a brighter future if we can guarantee that these LUCs can provide free education),” Gatchalian, co-author and co-sponsor of the free tuition law, said.