VERA FILES FACT SHEET: Why is the senior high school program discontinued in local, state universities and colleges?

On Jan. 8, the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) held a press conference to clarify issues on the discontinuation of the Senior High School (SHS) program in local and state universities and colleges (LUCs and SUCs).

“[The] K-12 program is not abolished. It is not within the power of the commission to abolish [the] K-12 program. It is a law enacted by the Congress. K-12 will continue pursuant to the Republic Act that created it,” CHED Chairperson Prospero “Popoy” De Vera said.

Why is CHED discontinuing the SHS program in government-run universities and colleges? Here is what you need to know:

  1. Why is CHED discontinuing the SHS program in LUCs and SUCs?

On Dec. 18, 2023, CHED issued a memorandum directing LUCs and SUCs to begin wrapping up their SHS program for the school year 2024-2025, as there is no longer a legal basis for funding it.

In the Jan. 8 press briefing, De Vera explained that CHED had an agreement with the Department of Education (DepEd) in 2015 which allowed LUCs and SUCs to offer an SHS program from school years (SY) 2016-2017 until 2020-2021 to help address capacity issues.

He said there were no new college enrollees during the transition period of the K-12 system so the LUCs and SUCs accepted SHS students to help basic education institutions that, at the time, still needed more facilities to accommodate Grade 11 and Grade 12 students.

De Vera clarified that his Dec. 18 memorandum only serves as a reminder of that agreement legalized by Circular Memorandum Order Nos. 32 and 33 issued in 2015 and 2016, respectively.

“There is no arbitrariness on the part of CHED because many state universities and colleges have closed their senior program as early as three years ago,” De Vera noted.

“This is not arbitrary. This is not whimsical. This is happening not only now,” he asserted.

  1. What happens once the SHS program is discontinued in LUCs and SUCs?

The Dec. 18 memorandum stated that DepEd has issued a notice through the Private Education Assistance Committee (PEAC) that there would no longer be government assistance for private school students and teachers who had transferred to SUCs and LUCs for the SHS program. 

Those entering Grade 12 in SY 2023-2024 were, however, exempted from this directive.

De Vera explained that there may be no legal basis for the provision of vouchers because the transition period is over. Since the tuition of students from SUCs and LUCs are funded by the government, DepEd pays the tuition and miscellaneous fees of SHS students enrolled in these universities and colleges through its voucher program.

“If SUCs accept students from Senior High, how will they pay [for] their education? So, that is the reason why the boards have to discuss it,” he said.

The latest report from DepEd cites a total of 17,700 Grade 11 students who may be affected by the discontinuation of the SHS program in government-run universities and colleges. 

Education Undersecretary Michael Poa, however, assured that no voucher recipients were affected by the CHED memorandum, adding that these students have two options next school year: “Enroll in public schools or  if they would prefer to do so, they may also enroll in private schools and avail of the voucher program.”

The directive to halt the SHS program in SUCs and LUCs elicited reactions from lawmakers.

Sen. Francis “Chiz” Escudero called on CHED and DepEd to ensure seamless communication between them so that no students would be displaced.

Sen. Grace Poe, on the other hand, suggested that education authorities conduct an assessment “to know if public schools nationwide have the facilities and personnel to accept the expected influx of students.”

House Deputy Minority Leader and ACT Teachers Party-list Rep. France Castro said prior consultations with stakeholders should have been done before cutting the financial assistance.

Sana nagkaroon ng konsultasyon sa mga students, parents and teachers kasi apektado sila dito. Sa mga estudyante at magulang kasi mawawalan sila ng ayuda at makikipagsiksikan sa mga public high schools. Sa mga teachers din na maaaring in limbo ang kanilang load at trabaho dahil dito,” she said.

(There should have been consultation with students, parents and teachers because they are affected here, with students and parents, who  will lose assistance and will crowd into public high schools, with the teachers also, whose load and work may be in limbo because of this.)

Meanwhile, De Vera said there is still a possibility to allow SUCs and LUCs to continue offering the SHS program after a thorough study has been done.

At the appropriate time, if we can determine that there is limited or no capacity in the DepEd facilities and there is still capacity in SUCs or LUCs, then we treat these cases one by one and look into it and look for the legal basis to continue this program, but that is not available now. That’s why we instructed the SUCs and LUCs to now discuss this,” he said.


Commission on Higher Education, Press Conference on the Discontinuance of SHS program in government-run universities and colleges, Jan. 8, 2024

CHED memorandum dated Dec. 18, 2023

Commission on Higher Education, CMO No. 32, Oct. 20, 2015

Commission on Higher Education, CMO No. 33, June 6, 2016

Statement from DepEd


Senate of the Philippines, Poe on CHED memo on SHS program, Jan. 4, 2024

Act Teachers Party-list Facebook page, Teacher France: Consultation should have been done first before DepEd and CHed memos cutting financial assistance to Gr.11&12 students, Jan. 4, 2024