State universities and colleges (SUCs) and Local Universities and Colleges (LUCs) that fail to comply with requirements of the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) and the Unified Student Financial Assistance System for Tertiary Education (UniFAST) cannot received their reimbursement of tuition and miscellaneous fees under the Free Higher Education (FHE) program.
This was stated by CHED and UniFAST Board Chairman J. Prospero E. De Vera III in response to the questions raised by several members of the House of Representatives during the budget deliberation on the proposed 2021 budget of CHED at the House of Representatives.
Legislators led by Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT-Teachers) Representative France Castro claimed that some SUCs waited for six to eight months before they got the funding for the FHE program, which prompted some schools to lay off some personnel.
More than forty (40) SUCs and LUCS did not receive their reimbursement of tuition and miscellaneous fees for the 2nd semester of AY 2019-2020 even after the end of the school year in July 2020 due to late submission of documents or noncompliance with billing requirements.
A total of twelve (12) SUCs and LUCs still have noncompliance issues until now and cannot be reimbursed even if funds are downloaded by the DBM.
“The Commission has already identified the noncompliant SUCs because our records show that only those with compliance issues have not been paid with whatever funds that have been downloaded by DBM to the Commission. I have also received reports that some SUCs have been telling their faculty that CHED is not processing the papers. Some SUC presidents have also raised the issue publicly where upon investigation, their SUCs have not complied with requirements,” De Vera said.
On record, CHED-UniFAST has fully paid the claims of 112 SUCs and 103 LUCs for the 1st semester Academic Year 2019-2020 and paid 80% (88 SUCs/84 LUCs) of the total 215 public HEIs for the 2nd semester this year.
The following is the list of noncompliant SUCs and LUCs under the FHE program being implemented under the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act (Republic Act 10931) that are yet to be paid for their billings.
LIST OF SUCs and LUCs with COMPLIANCE ISSUES
The billings of the remaining 18 SUCs and 13 LUCs were already processed and ready for payment upon the issuance of the Notice of Cash Allocation (NCA) from DBM.
Once DBM releases the NCA of Php 7 billion, all claims of compliant SUCs/LUCs will be immediately paid except for the noncompliant HEIs that will not get reimbursed until they submit all requirements and comply with the government’s auditing and accounting rules.
“CHED has the responsibility to protect the utilization of public funds. If some public universities do not comply with government requirements, or worse, claim reimbursement of fees not allowed under RA10931, then CHED will not download the funds to them,” De Vera said.
“It is unfair to criticize the hardworking men and women of CHED and UniFAST who are doing their best to disburse the money using a skeletal workforce during the pandemic, especially if these claims are being made by SUC/LUC administrators who are remiss in their duty to comply with government rules,” De Vera added.
J. PROSPERO E. DE VERA III, DPA
Commission on Higher Education