On tuition fee increase

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By Dennis Limlingan

The Advocate

Monday, May 12, 2014


WHILE it’s still summer, the preparations made by the academes for this year’s opening of classes are now in full swing. Sadly, these include the filing of their petitions to increase their tuition and other fees before the Commission on Higher Education (CHED).

Most private higher educational institutions (HEIs) are seeking the hike with their usual reason of price escalation of everything that schools have to put on their shoulders in providing education to their markets.

A total of 353 private universities and colleges to this date, including those in the provinces, have filed petitions before the CHED to increase the amount they exact from students who are enrolling for this school year.

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As a procedure, those private colleges and universities in the provinces would have to file their petitions before the commission’s regional offices and the latter shall submit them to that agency’s central office the verified and approved list of the academic institutions. The said list shall be submitted on or before May 15.

The CHED has assured the public, especially the parents of the students who would be enrolling for school that the private academic institutions filing their petitions for tuition and other fees increase would meet the guidelines and pass the requirements such as consultation, tuition’s allocations and other requisites that would ensure that increases would be transparent, reasonable and affordable.

Under the Education Act of 1982, it is provided that “each private school shall determine its rate of tuition and other school fees or charges subject to rules and regulations promulgated by the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sports.”

Only last year, CHED allowed 354 out of more than 1,500 colleges and universities to raise their tuition and other school fees. Despite protests from students’ organizations and militant groups, the Supreme Court dismissed in June last year a petition seeking to stop hiking tuition and other fees.

It seems that the price of quality education is getting higher and higher every year and add burden to parents who have their children at school. While the lifeblood of private schools, colleges and universities is the tuition, it seems that the increase of it has become an annual undertaking by businessmen who run academic institutions.

Despite the yearly increase in tuition and other fees imposed by schools, teachers are not satisfied with the wages they received from these private academic institutions. In fact, they often stage protests when their demands for their salaries’ increase fall on the deaf ears of school’s management.

Teachers are likewise affected by the skyrocketing of the price of basic commodities, thus their need for an increase based on the increase of the tuition and other fees schools impose to students.

Meanwhile, the national administration said that it sees no problem with the private colleges and universities increasing their tuition fees as long as they comply with the requirements imposed by CHED. It has issued a circular that seeks to strictly ensure that students are consulted by schools on the increase.

It made no appeal to these institutions for possible deferment of tuition fee hikes, washed hands and saying that they leave it to the discretion of private colleges and universities.

It even rationalizes that it gave orders to the CHED to properly and strictly screen private colleges and universities seeking for tuition increase. The government is merely giving consolation prizes to parents who have to shell out additional amount for their children’s education.

The move of private colleges and universities is untimely since many of Filipinos are still recuperating from the devastation of calamities last year, facing the looming energy crisis and El Niño and the increase in the price of fuel that results into the escalation of the price of basic commodities.

Instead of intervening and helping parents lighten their financial loads, the national leadership simply passed on the authority to its arms, the CHED.

While parents of course would want to have their children study in academic institutions giving quality education, they have to face the fact that education in the country is getting costlier and costlier. Their hands are tied and all they can do is grin and bear it.

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For any comments, ideas, suggestions or opinions, text or call The Advocate at 09213636360 or send email at dencious@yahoo.com.

Published in the Sun.Star Pampanga newspaper on May 13, 2014.

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