Youth groups slam CHED for approving tuition hikes

MANILA – Youth groups slammed the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) for allegedly representing tuition hike-hungry school owners instead of parents and students.

In a statement, the National Union of Students of the Philippines (NUSP) claimed the commission allowed higher education institutions (HEIs) to raise tuition this coming academic year 2016-2017 despite school violations and student complaints.

The youth organization said CHED did not respond and took no action on the cases and complaints filed by students against the tuition increase proposals of college schools.

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CHED, according to NUSP, broke its promise of releasing the list of colleges and universities with approved tuition hikes by the end of April. The commission has only issued, early this month, an initial figure of tertiary schools with the approved tuition fee increase, the group claim.

“CHED claims that it has strict mechanism in deciding tuition hike applications is nothing but a cacophony of lies,” NUSP president Sarah Elago said.

She added the commission said it approves tuition hikes based on inflation but fails to see that tuition and other school fee increases are unjust and unnecessary.

On the other hand, CHED Chairwoman Patricia Licuanan said the number of schools that would be granted to raise their tuition would be lower than last year’s 287, told Philippine Star.

“If schools are autonomous, we would allow them to increase tuition,” said Licuanan.

“Tuition increases, however, should be within allowable inflation rates for the regions. If it’s beyond or more than the regional inflation rate, they have to justify it,” she further said.

But Elago stressed that CHED insulted the parents and students when they asked them to understand that schools need to increase their tuition and other school fees.

“CHED should not be telling us to understand our schools. CHED should and must tell our schools to stop increases because we cannot take any hikes anymore! We urge CHED to stop all the fee increases for it will not only burden the working class families, but it also legalizes school administration violators in imposing redundant, dubios and exorbitant fees. It also violates students’ democratic rights,” explained Elago.

Earlier, the NUSP revealed there are some 400 tertiary schools and universities that intend to raise tuition fee and other fees for the next academic year. They said some schools will increase their tuition by up to 13 percent while some plan to collect other school fees, 20 percent higher. On the other hand, an unnamed source from CHED said there were 500 HEIs that applied for tuition hikes this year but only 280 were initially approved, GMA reported.

Meanwhile, CHED promised they will ensure universities and colleges meet the guidelines provided by the law and strictly adhere to the processes seeking to make tuition increases transparent, reasonable and affordable.