MANILA, Philippines – Youth groups said yesterday the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) should investigate schools increasing their “miscellaneous” fees, not just monitor tuition hikes.
Alvin Peters, president of the National Union of Students of the Philippines (NUSP) and spokesperson of youth group Kabataang Pinoy, said while CHED listed only 129 higher education institutions (HEIs) that will raise tuition rates for the coming school year, countless schools have imposed hikes in other fees they charge.
“The sad fact is that CHED has been inutile in stopping schools from raising tuition (rates). Even state colleges and universities have raised school fees. UP (University of the Philippines) and the Philippine Normal University are just a few of the state universities that have imposed increases in a number of their miscellaneous fees,” Peters told The STAR in an interview.
Peters said that many private HEIs hiked miscellaneous fees in lieu of tuition increases.
“The CHED list is misleading because it did not include a list of schools that imposed new or increased previous existing miscellaneous fees,” Peters said.
The miscellaneous fees usually imposed are for the publication of the college newspaper, air-conditioning for schools that have air-conditioned rooms, energy, personality development, library, Internet, and computer usage, among others.
CHED earlier said only 129 HEIs out of 260 will push raise tuition rates after CHED chairman Emmanuel Angeles III appealed to school owners and administrators last February to forego such plans. The CHED deadline for HEIs to declare their intent to raise tuition rates is Feb. 29 each year.
Schools are required to report to CHED any such intention so the commission can in turn monitor if they will follow a legal requirement for them to hold consultations with students and parents before imposing the tuition hikes.
Airah Cadiogan, vice chairman of UP’s University Student Council, said students have already been consulted by university officials about a plan to raise the laboratory fee for students at the UP College of Communication Arts from P200 to P3,200 and from P500 to P1,500 for engineering students.
There was also a plan to impose an “Internet fee” and an energy fee, she said.
Peters said President Arroyo, in January 2008, suspended CHED Memorandum Order 14 that set a tuition hike ceiling and required consultations with students and their parents before new miscellaneous fees are imposed.
Peters said that CMO 13 – which does not set a cap on tuition hikes and merely required consultations on new miscellaneous fees – was then “re-implemented.”
He alleged that CMO 14 was suspended after Mrs. Arroyo met with school owners who belong to the Philippine Association of Colleges and Universities, then headed by Gonzalo Duque, a brother of Health Secretary Francisco Duque, whose family owns the Lyceum of Northwestern Luzon.–Rainier Allan Ronda, Philippine Star