Tens of thousands of high school students have flocked to the University of the Philippines (UP) in Diliman, Quezon City to submit application forms for the 2019 University of the Philippines College Application Test (UPCAT). Some of them even camped out overnight within campus as the August 3 deadline approached.
“UPCAT applicants are estimated to have risen to 167,000 this year from 103,000 last year, largely because of the free-tuition policy,” the country’s premier university said in a statement posted on its official website on July 30. In August 2017, President Rodrigo Duterte signed Republic Act No. 10931 or the “Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act.”
Among 114 state universities and colleges (SUCs) in the Philippines, the government allots the highest budget for personal services and maintenance and other operating expenses to the UP System, according to data released by the Commission on Higher Education (CHED). The estimated cost per UP student as of academic year 2017 to 2018 amounts to Php199,686, a 12-percent increase from the previous school year’s Php177,849.
The high estimated cost per student in UP can be traced to its huge budget. In the Budget of Expenditures and Sources of Financing table provided by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) as of 2018, UP System’s current operating expenditures amount to Php13.3 billion. This covers all its seven constituent universities and one autonomous college found in 14 campuses all over the Philippines.
Following UP in the list is the Philippine Merchant Marine Academy, Batanes State College and Mindanao State University – Iligan Institute of Technology.
Meanwhile, the SUCs with the lowest estimated cost per student are Compostela Valley State College, Eulogio "Amang" Rodriguez Institute of Science and Technology and Philippine State College of Aeronautics.