Classes in state universities and colleges (SUCs) and local universities and colleges (LUCs) all over the country will now start in August every year.
Commission in Higher Education (CHED) chairman J. Prospero E. de Veyra III issued a Memorandum dated April 5, 2019 directing all SUCs and LUCs to shift their academic calendar to begin in August every year.
Implementation of this new schedule will start this academic year 2019-2020. The Memo reads:
“Pursuant to the pertinent provisions of RA 7722, otherwise known as “Higher Education Act of 1994″ and CEB Resolution No. 142-2019, all State Universities (SUCs) and Local Universities and Colleges (LUCs) are enjoined to synchronize its respective Academic Years (AY) to a Fiscal Year (FY) starting FY 2019 and to ensure that starting FY 2020, all SUCs and LUCs have synchronized their academic year to a fiscal year.”
The shift to August is still consistent with Section 3 of RA 7722 which states that higher education institutions shall start the school year on the first Monday of June but not later than last day of August.
In his previous announcements, De Veyra explained that the change in academic calendar will facilitate easier implementation of the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act, also known as Free Tuition Law, under the cash-based budgeting system which is now being implemented by Department of Budget and Management (DBM).
Under a cash-based budget system, agencies must spend their allocated funds and deliver projects within the year. If a government agency cannot guarantee completion of a project, it will be removed from its proposed budget.
De Vera said validation processes and paperwork make it difficult for CHED to reimburse all schools by the end of the year, as some schools that start in June or July would start their second semester in November.
“You have to remember the problem with Republic Act 10931 is the universities have to claim their reimbursement, we cannot just give it automatically…. It involves the evaluation of documents ensuring only real students are reimbursed,” he said.
With the class opening in August, reimbursements to schools for the first semester of the school year will be done by the end of the year. It would likewise be easier to facilitate reimbursements to schools should the second semester start in January.
According to CHED, there are 112 state universities and colleges, and 78 local universities and colleges nationwide has been approved to benefit from the free tuition law. (With reports from Rappler)