CHED: Tuition hike in 400 schools 'highly improbable'

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – At this point, the estimate that 400 colleges and universities may raise their tuition fees for academic year 2015-2016 is "highly improbable," according to the Commission on Higher Education (CHED).

"For AY 2015-2016, CHED will be able to provide more realistic estimates by April after the deadline of intended tuition and/or other school fees submissions ends on April 1," CHED said in a statement Monday, February 23.

Students took to social media and the streets their protest against the possible increase of tuition and other school fees in at least 400 universities and colleges in the country.

The etimate comes from a crowdsourcing mechanism tool of the National Union of Students of the Philippines (NUSP).

But CHED on Monday said in the past two years, they had only approved the tuition hike in roughly 20% of the 1,683 private higher education institutions (HEIs) in the country: 354 schools in 2013 and 287 schools in 2014.

Abolish CHED?

The NUSP on Tuesday, February 24 shot back at CHED for "denying" the 400-school estimate.

For the student group, a "realistic estimate" can be achieved as early as February, when the last round of student consultations are done in schools.

With their network of more than 650 member-student councils nationwide, NUSP receives reports not only on consultations, but also figures on how much schools plan to increase their fees. They inform CHED of these reports.

"CHED argues the estimates, but epically fails to do its job: to monitor and regulate tuition and other school fees. If it does not want to do its job, then CHED should be abolished," NUSP added.

As in the past, the commission said it will make sure every application for tuition fee increase is "transparent, reasonable, and affordable," meeting guidelines provided by law. 

Since 2014, CHED has been developing with the Philippine Institute for Development Studies a framework that can help the commission decide on a reasonable, annual tuition increase rate. – Rappler.com

Jee Y. Geronimo

Jee is part of Rappler's Central Desk, handling most of the world, science, and environment stories on the site. She enjoys listening to podcasts and K-pop, watching Asian dramas, and running long distances. She hopes to visit Israel someday to retrace the steps of her Savior.

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