Free College Entrance Exams Act Lapses Into Law

The Free College Entrance Examinations Act (Republic Act No. 12006), which allows the waiver of college entrance test fees for poor but qualified high school graduates, has officially become law. MalacaƱang released a copy of the law on Friday, which lapsed into effect on June 14.

Under RA 12006, private higher education institutions are now mandated to waive college entrance examination fees and related charges for eligible high school graduates. The full text of the law is available on the Official Gazette website.


The new legislation aims to ease the financial burden on high school graduates seeking admission to the country’s top universities, where entrance exam fees can range from P300 to P800.

For instance, fees at prestigious institutions like Ateneo de Manila University, De La Salle University, and the University of Santo Tomas range between P600 to P800, while fees at other private universities such as Mapua University, Far Eastern University, and the University of the East range from P300 to P500.

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Eligibility Criteria

To be eligible for the waiver, a high school graduate or graduating student must meet the following requirements:

  • Must be a natural-born Filipino citizen.
  • Must belong to the top 10 percent of their graduating class.
  • Must belong to a family with a combined household income below the poverty threshold set by the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), or unable to consistently provide basic needs such as food, health maintenance, and education.
  • Must satisfy all other requirements of the private college or university they wish to enroll in.

Implementation and Enforcement

The Commission on Higher Education (CHEd) is tasked with formulating the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) for the new law. Additionally, RA 12006 authorizes CHEd to impose appropriate sanctions on officials or employees of private higher institutions who fail or refuse to comply with any provisions of the law.

The enactment of RA 12006 is a significant step towards making higher education more accessible to financially disadvantaged but academically qualified students, ensuring that financial constraints do not hinder their pursuit of higher education.

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