Tell it to SunStar: Junk tuition hike petitions

WE call on the Commission on Higher Education (Ched) to junk all petitions by private schools to hike their tuition and other school fees (TOSF) for the next academic year.

Ched promised that it will follow strict guidelines in assessing the applications of private higher education institutions (HEIs) to increase fees. However, this is not the first time that Ched pledged to carefully evaluate such applications. Its “fair ruling” on petitions for TOSF hikes has resulted in hundreds of private HEIs increasing their fees annually in order to rake in millions in superprofits from their customers, the students.

For so many years, the “Commission on Highly Expensive Education” turns a blind eye on the fake consultations held in schools to justify the fee increases. Students are invited to “consultations” where their sentiments on the planned increases will be heard. In reality, consultations have become venues to merely inform students of fee hike proposals.

Worse, student attendance in fake consultations is submitted to Ched as student consent or support to the proposals -- for the sake of complying with Ched requirements. Worst, Ched accepts those submissions.

This year, around 400 schools are expected to hike fees and amass more profits. To oppose the planned increase in TOSF in their schools, students in the University of the East (UE) and Adamson University held protest actions in February. Student council officers of UE also boycotted the consultations on the fee hike proposal of their school.

Ched has always been catering to the desires of private HEIs for bigger annual revenues. Data reveal that the profits of private HEIs soar as they increase the fees they charge students.

In approving the petitions for TOSF hikes, President Duterte and Ched expose themselves as insincere in the pledge to make education more available to the people. These further reveal their allegiance to capitalist educators by upholding the commercialized nature of education so that private school owners may continue profiting from education.

With the dire impact of the tax reform law on the prices of goods and services, we cannot allow education to come with a hefty price tag farther beyond the reach of the Filipino masses.--National Union of Students of the Philippines
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