Free College Entrance Exam Act passage praised

The Kabataan Partylist Southern Mindanao Region praised the passage of the Free College Entrance Examination Act, ensuring every student, whether in private or public higher institutions, has access to education.

Harvey Lao, spokesperson for Kabataan Partylist Southern Mindanao Region, stated on Friday, June 28, 2024, that this law now provides every student, regardless of economic status, the opportunity to pursue higher education.

Republic Act No. 12006, also known as the Free College Entrance Examination Act, eliminates financial barriers that previously prevented underprivileged students from taking these exams. The act ensures accessibility and free testing, opening doors for deserving students to pursue higher education.

Following constitutional procedures, the bill automatically became law on June 14, 2024. If the president neither signs nor vetoes a bill within 30 days of receiving it, it automatically becomes law.

Under this law, graduating students qualify for waived college entrance exams and fees under five conditions: being a natural-born citizen, belonging to the top 10 percent of their graduating class, coming from a family with income below the poverty threshold set by the National Economic and Development Authority (Neda), applying for a college entrance exam at any private higher education institution in the Philippines, and meeting all admission requirements of the private school.

The Commission on Higher Education (Ched) will develop the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) within 60 days of the law’s enactment, in collaboration with the Department of Education (DepEd) and the Coordinating Council of Private Educational Associations of the Philippines.

Rhea Mae Gavanez, an 18-year-old incoming college freshman, told SunStar Davao on Tuesday afternoon, July 2, 2024, that this law will ease the financial burden for her and her family.

“Daghan student ang maka-explore sa uban school, maka pangita sad ug unsay fit para sa academic career. Kini nga batas naghatag ug mas patas nga oportunidad sa tanan nga mga estudyante nga gusto magpadayon sa college (Many students can now explore different schools to find the best fit for their academic careers. This law provides a fairer opportunity for all students who wish to pursue college),” she said.

The partylist encouraged Filipino youth to assert their right to quality education and oppose anti-student policies.

“This victory marks the unwavering dedication of the youth and students to achieve quality education for all,” Kabataan Partylist said.

Kabataan Partylist represents the youth in Congress and co-authors the Free College Entrance Examination Act. RGP