"Entrance exams" in private colleges, now free of charge

This article is available in Pilipino

Progressive youth in Congress pushed for the enactment of the Free College Entrance Exam Law (Republic Act 12006), which dropped entrance exam fees in private colleges in the country.

Among those who pushed for the bill in the House of Representatives were representatives from the Makabayan Bloc, including Kabataan Rep. Raoul Manuel and ACT Teachers Rep. France Castro. The bill passed its third reading in the House of Representatives in September 2022, while its counterpart bill in the Senate was passed in December 2023. It became law on June 14.

“Paying entrance examination fees has long been a burden for students… it’s an obstacle for students trying to prove their academic potential and gain college admission,” Rep. Manuel stated.

He said that while the law is welcome, weaknesses in its enacted version prevail. “Instead of completely free college entrance examinations, there are still five conditions for a student to be considered qualified for the fees exemption,” he said. In reality, not all students will be exempted from this fee.

First, the applicant must be a graduating or graduate natural-born Filipino. Second, they must be part of the top 10% of their class. Third, they must come from a poor family as defined by the government. Fourth, the exemption only applies to private schools in the country. And fifth, applicants must submit all required documents to their target private schools.

Private schools that violate the provision of free entrance exams may be subjected to appropriate penalties by the Commission on Higher Education (CHED). The Coordinating Council of Private Educational Associations of the Philippines and other private school associations are set to be consulted in the crafting of the law’s Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR), which is yet to be formulated.

Entrance exam fees are a reflection of the commercialized education system in the country, according to Rep. Manuel. “Various expensive fees remain even before you enter the school itself, like this entrance examinations fee,” the representative added.

The fight and unity of Filipino youth should not end here, he said. “We encourage the youth, students, and fellow lawmakers to further advance the fight for a patriotic, scientific, and mass-oriented type of education,” he concluded.

AB: "Entrance exams" in private colleges, now free of charge