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Which State University Students are the Biggest Beneficiaries of the Free Tuition Act?

On average, students can save Php3,474 a semester but some could save as much as Php15k
By Pauline Macaraeg |



The average tuition fee in a state university and college (SUC) is only Php144.04 per unit per semester, according to data from the Commission on Higher Education (CHED).


With the usual academic load of 21 units, this means that the typical SUC student can expect to save around Php3,025 a semester in tuition fees after President Rodrigo Duterte signed Republic Act 10931 or "Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act” last August 3. The law gives full tuition subsidy to students in SUCs, local universities and colleges and technical-vocational institutions.



Related story: Duterte Signs Law Providing Free Tuition in Government Colleges and Tech Schools


Of course, the actual savings could be bigger because the law also subsidizes other school fees. Under the law, the government will also cover other fees and provide allowances for “books, supplies, transportation and miscellaneous personal expenses.”


However, there is wide variance in tuition fees across the various SUCs, suggesting that the potential savings to be enjoyed by students of some state universities could be much bigger or much smaller compared to students of other SUCs. The infographic above lists the SUCs with the five highest tuition fees in Metro Manila and the rest of Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.


Our estimates show that students at the University of the Philippines, which charges the highest tuition fee for bachelor’s degree programs of Php1,000 per unit, are the biggest winners. Their savings could reach Php15,000 a semester on a typical 15-unit academic load or Php18,000 on an 18-unit load.


The law will be implemented by the first semester of school year 2018-2019, according to Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno. However, many of the SUCs, including the UP System, have ceased the collection tuition fees for the second semester of the current school year.






Pauline Macaraeg is Entrepreneur PH's data journalist 

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