Miscellaneous fees not in free college law can't be reimbursed: CHED

Ched Chairperson Prospero de Vera III
MANILA -- Commission on Higher Education (CHED) chair J. Prospero de Vera III on Wednesday said the commission cannot reimburse additional miscellaneous fees charged by higher education institutions (HEIs) that are not stated in the Republic Act 10931 or the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act (UAQTEA).

De Vera said the law "was very explicit on the miscellaneous fees that must be exempted," amid criticisms and requests for the exemption of more fees.

"Those who want everything in college education to be free, they should go to the Congress and amend the law. If the commission allows reimbursements of additional fees, number one, we will get Commission on Audit disallowances, and number two we could be charged administratively for allowing fees to be reimbursed from the government without legal basis," he told reporters on the sidelines of the student loan program launch.

According to the UAQTEA's implementing rules and regulations, the miscellaneous fees only include the library, computer, laboratory, school ID, athletic, admission, development, handbook, guidance, entrance, registration, medical, dental and cultural fees.

"(We're) cracking down on universities on going beyond than what they are allowed. For example, some state universities used to charge a modernization fee from students which used to construct buildings, capital outlay," de Vera said.

De Vera added that the commission has instructed the Unified Student Financial Assistance System for Tertiary Education not to reimburse capital outlays charged on students.

"In fact, there's a university, I won't mention the name anymore, even the payment for their security guards, they make it to be paid by their students and that is illegal. That should be part of your MOOE (Maintenance and Other Operating Expenses) every year, so, it is good that these fees happened so we can track down universities who are charging, in violation of what the law said," he said. (PNA)