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Reality bites: CHED’s Licuanan says only 8 percent of poor to benefit from free tuition in SUCs

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Moneyed students or “nonpoor” stand to benefit more from the tuition-free policy that will be implemented in state universities and colleges (SUCs) since only 8 percent of the poor are in tertiary educational institutions, Commission on Higher Education chair Patricia Licuanan said.

In an interview aired on GMA News TV’s “Bawal ang Pasaway” MOnday night (Jan. 16), Licuanan told former socioeconomic planning secretary Winnie Monsod that CHED was still figuring out how to make poor students the primary beneficiaries of the P8.3-billion budget allocated for free tuition in SUCs even as she stressed that the agency is “very supportive” of efforts to improve access to higher education.

“The poorest of the poor are not yet in college. They have been knocked out long ago and enrollment of the poorest quintile in higher education is only 8 percent. So it’s not going to benefit the poor,” she said.

Licuanan said the multibillion-peso budget allotted for free tuition was also insufficient since the estimated income computed for SUCs was based on enrollment figures for 2017, when fewer youth entered college compared to last year’s due to the implementation of the senior high school program.

“All the graduates last year are in senior high school. They will only enter college in 2018,” she said.

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