THE Commission on Higher Education (CHED) should be investigated regarding the use of over P8 billion pesos allotted to free tuition for calendar year 2017.
We express grave concern over the disbursement of the Higher Education Support Fund (HESF), which is supposed to cover the tuition of students enrolled in state universities and colleges (SUCs) for the first and second semesters of Academic Year 2017-2018.
CHED should have already given each SUC its share of the free tuition funds. But up until now, CHED has not released any report as to how the funds have been disbursed.
Based on Joint Memorandum Circular 2017-01 released by CHED and the Department of Budget and Management, CHED must post on its official website the amount of HESF disbursed to each SUC within one month after the end of each enrollment period. However, no official documents pertaining to this have been.
The delay in the release of funds has adversely affected students enrolled in SUCs. We have gathered numerous reports from students who were compelled to pay tuition despite the existence of the free tuition policy.
More stringent requirements were imposed on students so that many would be exempted from the policy and be forced to pay tuition. Others were not charged tuition but were compelled to pay higher miscellaneous fees in their schools.
Some schools like the University of the Philippines (UP) introduced new fees this academic year “to ensure their profits while CHED has not yet given them their share of the funds. In UP, students must pay hundreds of pesos simply for the use of classrooms, conference rooms or outdoor venues.
Thanks to our commercialized educational system, it has become the instinct of schools to charge higher or new fees to keep their bank accounts filled to the brim.--National Union of Students of the Philippines
Published in the SunStar Cebu newspaper on February 14, 2018.
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