Senate poises probe on schools’ ‘ridiculous fees’

Published by rudy Date posted on May 27, 2011

ABUSIVE private schools that continue to raise tuition fees hiding under the skirt of deregulation will be going through a wringer in aid of legislation of the Senate committee on Education, Arts and Culture.

Senator Manny Villar, the committee chairman and also the author of Senate Bill 488 schedule the first hearing on Thursday as he expects the attendance of Commission on Higher Education (CHEd) officials who has the power to govern both government and private universities and colleges and officials of private schools.

Due to its absence of power to regulate or evaluate tuition fee increases, CHEd is considered a lame duck agency as they are only mandated to be the approving authority.

The bill aims to know from the 281 private schools that demanded 10 to 15 percent increase in tuitions despite no improvements in the school campus and no salary increases in their teachers and staff.

Villar said that the perennial ballooning tuition increases have already resulted in a dramatic decrease of students in the last decade from a 68 percent enrollment share in 2000 to 63.9 percent last school year.

Aside from this, Villar noted that the non-regulation of miscellaneous fees has given some colleges and universities the freedom to impose redundant, excessive, and often-ridiculous charges lumped together in so-called miscellaneous fees.

Among the ridiculous charges that colleges and universities imposed on students were air-condition fees (for air-con classrooms), energy fees (for students charging their cellular phones and other electronic gadgets in school), internet/email fees, sports/athletic fees, UAAP and NCAA fees, among others.

He also noticed that some schools are advertising of no tuition fee hikes to entice students to enroll in their school only to find out that exorbitant increases are tucked under miscellaneous fees.

He said schools should practice transparency in the imposition of miscellaneous fees by detailing each of the charges they collect. –SAMMY MARTIN REPORTER, Manila Times

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