Allen Dominic Sacristan

The Republic Act (RA) 12006, or the Free College Entrance Exam Act, which aims to make college education more accessible for qualified students, has been enacted into law.

Photos Courtesy of INQUIRER/PhilStar/Canva.

It requires all private higher education institutions (HEIs) to waive qualified students' college entrance examination fees and charges for college admission.

Lawmakers have hailed the act's enactment, with Senate President Chiz Escudero emphasizing its potential to create a more equitable and inclusive education.

“RA 12006 stands as a testament to the power of Executive-Legislative collaboration and the unwavering dedication to providing quality education for all,” Escudero said.

House of Representatives Speaker Martin Romualdez expressed his support for the law, highlighting its role in making education equitable and accessible in the country.

“The passage of this law reflects our commitment to making education accessible to all,”  Romuldez said. 

“It is our hope that this will inspire more students to strive for academic excellence, knowing that their financial background will not be a barrier to their aspirations," he added. 

Under the law, a graduating student will be eligible if he or she is a natural-born Filipino citizen and a part of the top ten percent (10%) of the graduating class.

The student must also belong to a family whose combined household income falls below the poverty threshold or those who cannot afford to sustain their minimum basic needs of food, health, education, housing, and other essential amenities of life.

Other qualifications require students to take the entrance exam in any private institution within the country and to satisfy all conditions set by the school they are applying to.

The Commission on Higher Education (CHEd) will determine and impose sanctions against private universities that will not abide by the law.

CHEd would also promulgate the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) within 60 days from its effectivity in coordination with the Department of Education.

The draft of the IRR will also be consulted with the Coordinating Council of Private Educational Associations of the Philippines or any equivalent institution.