August 3, 2017

Free Tuition Fee in SUCs?

Photo by Aerous (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno expressed his opposition for granting of full subsidy to tuition fees in state universities and colleges (SUCs). According to Diokno "... it will cost us something around PHP100 billion, hindi po kaya ng gobyerno yan". He added, "it was not in the 2018 budget of the president, in the absence of any law we cannot appropriate money for free tuition".

Ernesto Pernia, National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) Chief, pointed out that  most of the beneficiaries of free tuition will come from able families; those who have the capacity to pay tuition fee (source: GMA News - We can't afford free tuition SUCs - Duterte economic Manager).

There is no doubt that free tuition fee will be a big help to lower and middle class family.  For lower class it will help them send their children to college; for middle class it will lower  their expense and increase their disposable income (income you can use in your daily expense like food and etc). It is understandable that there will always be a challenge in allocation of government resources; Diokno highlighted that PHP100 Billion is too big for the government and that it is not included in the budget. This challenge I guest requires more tactical rather analytical solution. As a proposal, we can tap private institution and raise funds if we want to provide free tuition fee to the public.

While we have the guts to asked for free tuition, it should be noted that the priority of this project should be the poorest of the poor. What is evident today is that the student selection process of SUCs is based on intelligence (IQ) rather than family income. Thus, if the government really wants to provide college to the poorest of the poor, it should offer student sits of the SUCs directly to the poorest of the society. The government should identify those poorest family and give them directly the scholarship regardless of their intelligence level. Most of poor kids lack nutrition, good environment, and access to information; it would be false to assume that most of these student are intelligent, thus if intelligence will be the main basis to enter to SUCs, most of the poorest of the poor will fail to qualify.

Overall, free education will be beneficial to the economy, but it should be provided to the poorest of the poor to help them improve their economic status.

If you teach an intelligent student to become intelligent, he becomes more intelligent; if you help an ignorant kid to become a student; he becomes intelligent. Who should you teach?


  1. I also agree that there is Free Rider problem in SUCs; SUCs should be offered to poor families, those who have no capacity to pay tuition fee.

    1. I think the target of SUCs should be poor kids with capacity to think and study!

    2. The impact of free education is in lower and middle class; but priority of this policy should be targeted to lower class.

    3. Now that the free tuition fee law is approved, budget secretary and others should now work to secure funds.


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