Students from various state universities and colleges (SUCs) led by Anakbayan, Kabataan Partylist and other youth groups today held protest actions and marched to the Commission on Higher Education (Ched) office in Quezon City in the afternoon to denounce what it called the free tuition hoax.

“The free tuition policy is a hoax that promises free tuition to iskolars ng bayan while implementing a socialized tuition system that actually siphons profits from students,” said Anakbayan National Secretary General Einstein Receides.

The Ched implementing policies and corresponding guidelines by school administrations have sparked outrage from students decrying the preferential treatment for beneficiaries of the 4Ps and Student Financial Assistance Programs (StuFAPs), and leaving the rest to get beneficts “according to their per capita household income”.

Modelled on the University of the Philippines’ socialized tuition system (STS), the group said the free tuition policy will only lead to more commercialization schemes and further discriminate against poor students who will have a hard time complying with many requirements just to prove that they are indeed poor.

The UP STS paved the way for the increase of tuition from P40 in 1989 to P1,500 per unit. Today, 1 of 10 students apply for loans while and 3 out of 4 appeal for a lower bracketing under UP’s STS. In 2015 alone, UP amassed P11.4 billion, which exposes the socialized tuition system as big money-making scheme.

“This is a trojan horse that furthers the neoliberal agenda of intensifying the commercialization of education in the guise of giving free educationtuition. We call on the Filipino youth to take action and beat back this latest neoliberal attack on education,” said Recedes.


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