BSU preps for free higher education

Benguet State University (BSU) lays down policies for the implementation of Republic Act 10931 or the “Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act of 2017” which is effective first semester school year 2018-2019.

According to Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Kenneth A. Laruan, the University is to comply with the attached responsibilities of State and Local Universities and Colleges (SUCs and LUCs). Initially, a meeting was held on April 27, 2018 with the college deans, college secretaries, and directors of offices in BSU to provide a background on the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of the act.

Provided in the IRR is free tuition for all degree programs, courses, subjects, or classes enrolled during a particular semester or term. Included also are miscellaneous fees which may include: library fees, computer fees, laboratory fees, school ID fees, athletic fees, admission fees, development fees, guidance fees, handbook fees, medical and dental fees, entrance fees, and cultural fees.

Students who would avail of the free tuition are obligated to undergo the SUC/LUC’s Return Service System. The system is unique to each SUC/LUC, and according to Dr. Laruan, a proposal of the mechanism was given to the Commission on Higher Education (CHED).

Dr. Laruan also said that the drafted proposal will be a part of a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with the students agreeing to avail the free higher education provision and the tagged responsibilities therein.

“The Return Service is a way of giving back the service to the government for being a beneficiary of free education,” he explained.

Other provisions of the act such as the Opt-out and the Voluntary Contribution mechanism will also be developed by the university. According to the IRR, Opt-out mechanism is a provision in which a student has also a right not to avail of the free higher education; the Voluntary Contribution on the other hand is in cases where a student decides to contribute a financial amount to the university.

In cases such as these, students who would apply for these mechanisms will either be exempted from or will lessen the responsibilities ascribed in the return service system.

A regional orientation on the IRR is set on May 25, 2018.//MPenchog