MANILA, Philippines – The Commission on Higher Education (CHED) granted the request of 304 private higher education institutions (HEIs) to increase their tuition and other school fees for academic year 2016 to 2017.
As of Monday, June 6, the CHED has allowed 280 out of the 304 private HEIs that applied to increase tuition fees, and 252 to increase other school fees for the incoming school year. The Philippines has a total of 1,659 private HEIs.
In a statement on Thursday, June 9, CHED said the average increase in tuition is P43.39 per unit (5.10%), while increase in other school fees is at P115.58 (5.41%).
“Considering the total population of private HEIs, the average increase in tuition or other school fees is less than 1%. These increases vary depending on the HEI and the region,” read the statement signed by CHED Chairperson Patricia Licuanan.
The National Capital Region recorded the most number of HEIs (70 schools) that will increase tuition and other school fees, with a P68.44 per unit average increase in tuition and a P57.52 per unit average increase in other school fees.
|REGION||NO. OF SCHOOLS||AVERAGE INCREASE IN TUITION FEES||AVERAGE INCREASE IN OTHER SCHOOL FEES|
Data as of June 6, 2016. Source: Commission on Higher Education
As in previous years, CHED cited Memorandum Order 3, series of 2012, in approving the increase in the tuition and other school fees. The commission took into consideration the following factors:
- Regional inflation rate
- Financial standing of the institution
- Financial capacity of the general studentry
- Impact of force majeure or calamities
- Quality track record of the school
- Mission and vision of the institution
Aside from the memo, CHED’s decision was also guided by the Education Act of 1982, the Government Assistance to Students and Teachers in Private Education Act, and the “education deflator,” which measures average cost of providing education services based on the regional inflation rate.
“CHED’s approach to the issue of tuition is holistic…. For its part, CHED ensures that HEIs meet the guidelines provided by law,” the commission said.
Also on Thursday, incoming Kabataan Partylist Representative Sarah Elago slammed CHED’s approval of the increases, calling it an “unconscionable move that will only deepen the financial woes of many students and their families.”
“This new wave of tuition increases will undoubtedly force more students to stop schooling due to financial constraints,” Elago said.
She called on schools not to treat education as business, and “students must not be forced to bear the brunt of K to 12’s impact on higher education.”
“Ito ba ang parting gift ng outgoing Aquino administration sa mga kabataan?” Elago asked. “Hanggang sa pagtatapos ng kanyang termino, walang ibang nagawa ang administrasyong ito kundi magbigay ng dagdag na pasakit.”
(Is this the parting gift of the outgoing Aquino administration to the youth? Until the end of his term, this administration did nothing but to add burden on people.)
Youth group seeks tuition moratorium
Amid the increases, the commission said it has programmed close to 280,000 slots in its Student Financial Assistance Programs (StuFAPs), which amounts to more than P5.7 billion. The programs support deserving students enrolled in public and private HEIs.
CHED said “a large portion” of the StuFAPs funds will go to more than 40,000 poorest of the poor students enrolled in state universities and colleges.
These are students under the government’s Expanded Student Grants-in-Aid Program for Poverty Alleviation – those who belong to family-beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program.
Aside from the StuFAPs funds, CHED on Thursday hailed the passage of the Unified Student Financial Assistance System for Tertiary Education, which seeks to rationalize all existing student financial assistance programs of the government to help more students stay in college.
“It also serves as the ultimate national human resource development mechanism and strategy that will direct beneficiaries to priority degree programs needed for economic growth and development,” the commission added.
But Elago lamented how the unaffordability of college “reached new heights” under the Aquino administration, with students shelling out an average P60,000 to P100,000 in 2015, compared to the P30,000 to P50,000 in 2010.
She called on President-elect Rodrigo Duterte to order a tuition moratorium as soon as he takes office. (READ: Will higher education reforms continue under Duterte presidency?)
“Issuing an executive order to freeze tuition hikes is an immediate relief for students. However, we must emphasize that this is not the only thing the incoming Duterte administration can do,” Elago said.
“If the government really has the heart to address the growing economic burden posted by soaring tuition rates, then it needs to address the extant policy of education deregulation.” – Rappler.com