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Kabataan Partylist lauds law waiving entrance exam fees

THE KABATAAN Partylist, the lone youth representation in Congress, commended the enactment of Republic Act No. 12006, or Free College Entrance Examination Act “another achievement” for poor students.

RA 12006 mandates private Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) to waive college entrance examination fees of certain students qualified to apply for college admission.

“In cognizance of the need to assist disadvantaged students that show potential for academic excellence, the State shall exempt qualified graduates and graduating students from payment of entrance examination fees administered by HEIs,” the Act reads.

In a statement released on Friday, Kabataan Partylist- Southern Mindanao said the Act ensures accessibility of underprivileged youth to pursue higher education.

“The Free College Examination Act removes financial barriers that have long prevented students, especially those from underprivileged backgrounds, from taking college entrance exams,” the party list said.

They cited the legislation as “opening doors” for many deserving students nationwide. 

Under Section 5 of the Act, a graduate or graduating student is eligible for the waiver of college entrance examination fees and charges, provided that he/she is a natural-born Filipino citizen; and that he/she belongs to the top ten percent (10%) of his or her graduating class.

A student should also belong to a family whose combined household income falls below the poverty threshold as defined by the National Economic and Development Authority or cannot afford in a sustained manner to provide for their minimum basic needs of food, health, education, housing and other essential amenities of life duly certified by the Department of Social Welfare and Development.

He/she must satisfy all other requirements as specified by the private HEI he/she is applying for admission.

“Every student, regardless of their economic status, now has a higher chance to pursue higher education. No thanks to Marcos Jr., the youth triumphed another hindrance to access to education in our campaign for the right,” Harvey Lao, Kabataan Partylist- Southern Mindanao vice president said.

The bill lapsed into law on June 14 without the signature of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. 

To recall it was passed by the Senate of the Philippines as Senate Bill No. 2441 on December 11, 2023, and adopted by the House of Representatives as an amendment to House Bill No. 5001 on March 19, 2024.

The Commission on Higher Education (CHED) is authorized by the law to impose sanctions on non-compliant HEIs for failure or refusal to enact the provision under the law.

CHED, along with the Department of Education and in consultation with the Coordinating Council of Private Educational Associations of the Philippines must promulgate within 60 days the implementing rules and regulations of the law.

The partylist, as the co-author of the legislation, called on the youth to continue to “assert the right for quality education and fight against anti-student policies.”

It can be noted disadvantaged students with unpaid school obligations can now also take the periodic and final exams after President Marcos signed the Republic Act 11984, or the “No Permit, No Exam Prohibition Act.”

The very first Kabataan Partylist representative filed the bill back in 2007 and was just signed into law on March 11, 2024.



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