MS 30th Anniversary XXX

CHED to private schools: Go slow on tuition hikes

The Commission on Higher Education has advised private schools against increasing tuition and commended a moratorium on increases imposed in state universities and colleges, officials said on Monday. CHED Chairman Patricia Licuanan said private schools have submitted requests for tuition increases but the agency was expected to deliberate and decide on their application in the second week of May. “We might come up with a decision in the second week of May, which is the enrollment period for academic year 2013-2014,” Licuanan said. The Philippine Association of State Universities and Colleges announced on April 5 a moratorium on undergraduate tuition and miscellaneous fees, including schools with approved increases for coming academic year. The association has 111 member-schools all over the country. But the private schools have been aggressive in pushing for tuition increases to fund a raise in teachers’ salaries and acquisition of new equipment. In Western Visayas, CHED has approved a nine percent increase in tuition and miscellaneous fees  in 30 of 150 schools in the region. Last year, 256 of 2,247 schools, including 64 in Metro Manila, increased tuition fees, Licuanan said. “But CHED is asking them to go slow on tuition increases this year, or they will lose many students,” Licuanan said. Various student and youth groups, including Kabataan, League of Filipino Students and the National Union of Students, have asked the CHED to reject the applications of 451 private schools for a five percent to 10 percent increase in tuition. Among the 451 schools with pending applications were Catholic-run institutions such as the University of Sto. Tomas, Colegio de San Juan de Letran, De La Salle University, and Adamson University. Catherine Castaneda, CHED National Capital Region director, said more than half of colleges and universities in Metro Manila are autonomous “and they have the privilege of increasing a reasonable amount of tuition each year.” “Most of their proposals are within inflation levels, which are the basis for tuition hike to be reasonable,” she said Castaneda advised parents and students to look closely at the miscellaneous fees, which could be exorbitant, even if the tuition increase is reasonable. “Year after year, greedy profiteering private school owners increase tuition to near impossible rates, disregarding the fact that many families cannot  cope with such hikes, thereby resulting in higher dropout rates,” said Victor Villanueva, President of the National Union of Students of the Philippines. “We challenge private schools to also implement a tuition hike moratorium,” Villanueva said.
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