House OKs bill allowing students with ‘unpaid’ fees to take exams

December 12, 2022 People's Tonight 93 views

IF the House of Representatives will have its way, no student, both in public and private higher educational institutions (HEIs), will ever be barred from taking periodical or final examinations just because of unpaid tuition and fees.

With an overwhelming 237 votes, the lower house has approved on 3rd and final reading House Bill (HB) No. 6483 or “An Act Allowing College Students with Unpaid Tuition and Other School Fees to Take the Periodic and Final Examinations on Good Cause and Justifiable Grounds.”

According to the measure, the State has the responsibility of protecting and promoting the right of citizens to quality education and to make education accessible to all.

“College students enrolled in HEIs shall have the responsibility of meeting the academic and institutional requirements of the HEIs, including the prompt payment of financial obligations as defined and determined by the HEI at the time of enrolment, subject to penalties and sanctions for non-compliance,” said HB 6483.

“Considering that higher education is imbued with public interest, all HEIs shall adopt appropriate policies to accommodate and allow students who, due to emergencies, force majeure, and good cause or other justifiable reasons, have unsettled financial obligations to take the scheduled periodic examinations,” it continued.

The measure does not unqualifiedly extinguish responsibility on the part of the student but only allows them to reprieve in a time of an emergency.

“Provided, that the student executes a promissory note for the schedule of settlement of the outstanding financial obligation prior to the taking of examination: Provided, further, That any deferment of payment of unpaid balance shall not go beyond the semester, except when allowed by the HEI,” the measure stated.

“School authorities shall have the right to withhold the issuance of appropriate clearance and transfer credentials of college students with unpaid financial obligations and refuse their enrollment in the next enrollment period, whether semester or trimester, until all previous delinquencies are fully paid,” it added.

Under the bill, HEIs found guilty of violating any provision of this measure shall be “subject to administrative sanctions by the Commission on Higher Education pursuant to its powers under Republic Act No. 7722, otherwise known as the ‘Higher Education Act of 1994.’”

“Students found guilty of committing any act of fraud, falsehood or misrepresentation in availing themselves of the benefits of this Act shall be subject to appropriate administrative and disciplinary sanctions of the HEI,” it said.

The CHED is tasked, within 90 days, to promulgate the implementing rules and regulations (IRRs) to ensure the efficient and effective implementation of the measure when it becomes law.

Authors of the bill include House Majority Leader Manuel Jose “Mannix” M. Dalipe, and Reps. Elpidio F. Barzaga Jr., Raoul Danniel A. Manuel, Mark O. Go (M.), Jose Gay G. Padiernos, Jose Maria Jr. R. Zubiri, Eulogio R. Rodriguez (E.), Edgar M. Chatto, Laarni Lavin Roque, Jude A. Acidre, John Tracy F. Cagas, Maria Carmen S. Zamora, Lani Mercado-Revilla, Ruth Mariano-Hernandez, Jose “Joboy” S. Aquino II, Isidro D. Lumayag, Drixie Mae S. Cardema, Mikaela Angela B. Suansing (M.A.), JC Abalos, Edwin L. Olivarez, Gabriel H. Bordado Jr., Maria Theresa V. Collantes, Eric R. Buhain, Danny A. Domingo, Samuel S. Verzosa Jr., Lordan G. Suan, Edsel A. Galeos, Maximo Y. Dalog Jr., Ma. Lucille L., Nava M.D., Ivan Howard A. Guintu, Antonieta R. Eudela, Charisse Anne C. Hernandez, Francisco Paolo V P. Ortega V, Yasser Alonto Balindong, Jeyzel Victoria C. Yu, Zia Alonto Adiong, Rhea Mae A. Gullas, Carl Nicolas C. Cari, Luisa Lloren Cuaresma, Ralph Wendel P. Tulfo (R.W.), Khymer Adan T. Olaso, Mary Mitzi L. Cajayon-Uy, Adrian Jay C. Advincula, Edwin L. Gardiola, Joselito “Joel” S. Sacdalan, Rosanna “Ria” V. Vergara, and Ramon Jolo B. Revilla III.