Tell it to SunStar: TRAIN to worsen hikes in tuition

THE tax reform program by the Duterte administration will further drive increases in tuition and other school fees (TOSF) collected from students in private higher education institutions (HEIs).

The annual burden of increases in TOSF in private HEIs will be aggravated by Duterte’s tax reform which is now being cited to legitimize proposals to increase TOSF for the next academic year.

In Far Eastern University (FEU), the eighth largest private HEI in the country in terms of enrollment, the school administration used Republic Act 10963 or the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Law to justify the five-percent increase in semestral energy fee from P1,800 in academic year 2017-2018 to P1,890 in academic year 2018-2019.

From the hike in energy fee, FEU can earn an additional income of P3.4 million from its over 18,000-strong student population. In addition, the total miscellaneous fees charged from FEU students will rise to as much as P10,914 for academic year 2018-2019, which will amount to around P400 million in income for the school.

Energy fee, which is commonly collected from students both in state and private universities to cover the cost of consumption of electricity and other energy sources, is one of the many fees that school administrators want increased as they expect higher electricity bills due to the TRAIN Law.

President Duterte’s tax reform law gives capitalist educators and private school owners more reason to justify their incessant fee increases to amass superprofits from their students. According to the reports they gathered, among the over 400 schools projected to apply for fee increases this February are those that take in the most number of students in their regions.

Saint Louis University in Baguio City, the country’s second largest private HEI in terms of enrollment, has a student population of 32,725 as of 2017. This university will impose an eight-percent increase in tuition for the next academic year.

Located in Angeles City, Pampanga, Holy Angel University recorded an enrollment rate of 15,963 as of 2017, the highest in Central Luzon. Next academic year, this private Catholic university is set to raise tuition by six percent and all other fees by five percent.

In the Northern Mindanao region, Capitol University stands as the private HEI with the fourth largest student population. This school will implement a five-percent across-the-board increase in tuition and other fees.

Students and their families suffer from the rising cost of education and other daily necessities. Students walked out of classes yesterday, February 23, to show their opposition to the TRAIN Law which will further drive Filipinos along the road to poverty and misery.--Raoul Manuel, deputy secretary general, National Union of Students of the Philippines (NUSP), a nationwide alliance of student councils
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