Hundreds of thousands of private and public college students face the risk of going on a "forced vacation" or being "dismissed," with a significant reduction in the proposed 2020 budget of the Commission On Higher Education (CHED).
P11.6 billion was slashed from CHED's budget for next year, as announced by Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto. This year's budget was P52.43 billion and it has been slashed to P40.78 billion in 2020. The cut also affects the cash assistance provided by CHED's Tulong Dunong program.
“Instead of diplomas, the government will be handing out dismissal slips," Senator Recto explained. "The budget cut for tertiary education is a ticket to a forced vacation for many public and private college students.”
Many college students rely on the government as beneficiaries of free tuition or scholarship programs: 175,260 students under the Student Financial Assistance Program, 1,932 medical scholars, and 115,352 to 199,920 students under the government's Tertiary Education Subsidy (TES).
“Okay lang sana kung hindi pa sila naka-enroll sa kolehiyo; kung papasok pa lang. Pero karamihan naka-enroll na, prodded by a government guarantee that if they study hard and maintain good grades, they can keep the scholarship."
CHED has appealed for the restoration of the P10.35-billion cut in its Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education (UAQTE) budget.