“The illegal imposition of increases in tuition and other school fees continues even without the Ched approval.”
By ANNE MARXZE D. UMIL
MANILA – The National Union of Students in the Philippines (NUSP) belied the statement of the Commission on Higher Education (Ched) that it is “strict in implementing its guidelines and regulations on increases in tuition and other school fees.”
The youth group said the Ched is far from telling the truth as it has “perennially failed to monitor tuition increases from bogus consultations to final applications.”
In a television interview, Ched Executive Director Julito Vitriolo said it will announce by the end of this month the list of private colleges and universities whose application for tuition hikes was approved. Vitriolo claimed that that the number of schools allowed to raise tuition would be decreased as they are “strict” in implementing their guidelines.
“The Ched is saying that it uses a the inflation rate to evaluate tuition increase applications. Right from the horse’s mouth, The Ched said it is quite strict and that tuition hikes are pegged according to regional inflation rates,” the group said in a statement.
“The utilization of the inflation rate is not a strict parameter, but a full-blown enforcement of hike approval,” said the NUSP.
The Ched Memorandum Order No. 3 series of 2012 or the “Enhanced Policies and Guidelines on Tuition and Other Fee Increases and Introduction of New Fees” (CMO No. 3-2012) is often violated by school administrations, the NUSP said.
A clear example of this is the case of the De La Salle Araneta University, said the group.
The Ched said it will release by the end of April 2015 the results of tuition increase applications for academic year 2015-2016. However, DLSAU, as early as April 20, has implemented the tuition increase during the extended summer term enrolment, according to the NUSP.
The group also said the DLSAU has released a schedule of fees for this schoolyear, imposing tuition hike, including an “illegal” development fee that was not consulted with students nor approved by Ched.
The group said if indeed Ched is strict, it should have ordered DLSAU to stop imposing increases, and should ultimately disapprove the DLSAU’s application.
“We exhausted all efforts to expose the railroadings, bogus consultations, and up to now, the illegal imposition of tuition and other school fees increases continue even without the Ched approval,” said Sarah Jane Elago, NUSP national president and Rise for Education Alliance Convenor.
At least 400 private colleges and universities proposed tuition increases this year. In February, some schools held discussions with students regarding proposed tuition increases. However, several student councils decried these as “bogus consultations,” some of which even led to the harassment of students opposed to tuition hikes.
On April 14, NUSP filed verified complaints against universities and colleges that violated CMO No. 3-2012. Student councils from schools that filed complaints in Ched are University of Santo Tomas (UST), University of the East (UE), Miriam College (MC), De La Salle University – Manila (DLSU), De La Salle Araneta University (DLSAU), and National Teachers College (NTC). The schools proposed an average range of 2.5 to 10 percent increase in tuition and other school fees.
Last year, the NUSP and representatives from student councils of National University, De La Salle-Araneta University, Far Eastern University, University of the East in Manila and Caloocan, San Beda College and Far East Air Transport Incorporated (FEATI) University individually filed complaints with Ched for violations of CMO No. 3-2012.
The Ched’s inaction on the complaints prompted the NUSP and organizations under the Rise for Education Alliance to file charges of gross neglect of duty, incompetence and gross inefficiency against Ched Commissioner Particia Licuanan and other Ched officials including Vitriolo. The complaint was filedin the Office of the Ombudsman.
“Ched is not strict. In fact it has allowed the easiest way for schools to illegally increase tuition and other school fees. It is an accomplice to tuition increase.”
Elago further said, “It is the government’s duty to make education accessible and not to treat this as a commodity. It is enraging that this very statement of Ched proves its inutility and insensitivity over a ballooning number of dropouts and out-of-school youths in the country.”