Solon asks Senate to probe ‘hidden charges’ in tuition hikes imposed by some private schools

Published by rudy Date posted on May 28, 2011

Sen. Manuel Villar Jr. has called on the Upper Chamber leadership to conduct an inquiry into the reported “hidden charges” in tuition and increases in miscellaneous fees being imposed by some private schools.

Villar was prompted to file Resolution 488, asking the committees on education and youth, women and family relations to conduct an investigation, in aid of legislation, following reports on what the senator noted as “absurd” charges imbedded in the so-called miscellaneous fees imposed by some colleges and universities on students in the coming school year.

Examples of these absurd charges are air-con fees for air-conditioned classes, “energy” fees which are for instances wherever students charge their cell phones and other electronic gadgets in school, Internet or e-mail fees, sports and or athletic fees, UAAP fees, among other things, the senator said.

Other schools do not provide details or itemize the fees included in the miscellaneous charges they impose on students, he said.

While some schools that advertise themselves to have “no tuition hike” this year, however, conceal additional and hidden charges in the guise of miscellaneous fees which mislead students and parents alike, he added.

Villar said the Commission on Higher Education (Ched) which governs public and private institutions in all post-secondary and graduate education and is the approving authority when it comes to tuition hikes, has no power to regulate or evaluate miscellaneous fee increases.

The non-regulation of miscellaneous fees has given some colleges and universities the freedom to impose redundant, excessive and often ridiculous charges which they lump together in so-called miscellaneous fees.

Ched has approved an average 10 percent tuition hike for 281 private tertiary schools in the coming school year.

“The high miscellaneous fees make it more difficult to cope with the rising costs of tertiary education. Schools should practice transparency in the imposition of miscellaneous fees by identifying one by one the charges covered by such,” Villar said.

The rise in tuition costs has led to the decrease in enrollment in private institutions in the last decade, from a 68 percent enrollment share in 2000 to 63.9 percent in the last school year, he pointed out.

An inquiry should be undertaken with the end in view of rationalizing and itemizing allowable miscellaneous charges in the interest of transparency, Villar said. –Angie M. Rosales, Daily Tribune

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