Poor students who belong to upper 10% of their batch may now take USTET for free

Photo by Michelle Ann Escosia /THE FLAME

STARTING THIS October, students with financial difficulties who belong to the upper ten percent of their batch will have the opportunity to take the UST college entrance exam for free.

Republic Act 12006 or the Free College Entrance Examinations Act, which lapsed into law last June 14, will be implemented starting the UST Entrance Test (USTET) 2025 application cycle, according to the University’s admissions chief.

The law exempts qualified graduates and graduating students from paying entrance examination fees administered by private higher education institutions.

“Since [RA] 12006 is now a law, UST will comply accordingly, starting with the USTET 2025 application cycle,” UST Office for Admissions Director Assoc. Prof. Emelda Dakis told The Flame.

Students who wish to be exempted from paying admission exam fees must be a natural-born Filipino citizen, belong in the top 10% of their graduating class and complete all requirements of the private school. The graduate must also come from a household whose combined income is below the National Economic and Development Authority’s poverty threshold.

Before the enactment of the Free College Entrance Examinations Act, UST waived the admission test fees of senior high school graduates from public schools with highest honors.

“A similar mechanism will be implemented for USTET 2025 applicants in the top 10% of their graduating class, with additional requirements to support their eligibility for waived application fees,” Dakis said.

The University charges a P600 application fee for Filipino applicants studying in the country, graduates in previous school years and passers of Department of Education-administered tests, namely the Philippine Educational Placement Test, Alternative Learning System and Accreditation and Equivalency Assessment and Certification. The USTET fee for students enrolled in international schools and foreign applicants studying in Philippine schools, including those located overseas, costs P1,000. Meanwhile, college applicants with international credentials have to pay P3,000.

The Free College Entrance Examinations Act covers all private higher education institutions recognized by the Commission on Higher Education, including UST. The commission is allowed to impose sanctions on private institutions and their officials who fail to comply with the law.  F — Mei Lin Weng

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