MANILA, Philippines – Around 400 universities and colleges across the country have plans to increase tuition and other school fees, according to youth group National Union of Students of the Philippines (NUSP).
Citing data from its tuition monitor network, the NUSP said a number of schools have already signified their intention to raise tuition by up to 13 percent, while some have plans to increase other schools fees by up to 20 percent.
However, the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) said it would issue its own list by March or April after all reports from its regional offices have been submitted.
“Currently, CHED is working with the Philippine Institute for Development Studies to come up with a formula on the reasonable rate of tuition fee increase each year and per province or region,” CHED media officer Abi Lasaca said.
The NUSP, which is composed of over 650 student councils and federations across the country, said several schools which had raised tuition and other school fees last year have plans to impose another round of increase this year.
“(The yearly increases are) inhumane, incessant and anti-student,” said NUSP president Sarah Elago.
“Administration-sponsored consultation for the longest time has evolved into a mere justification and presentation of fees… Skyrocketing tuition increase under the guise of ‘development’ actually kills students’ and youth’s right to accessible and quality education,” Elago added.
The group questioned the decision of schools to impose “illegal, redundant and dubious fees,” such as payment for lifelong relations and spiritual development.
“NUSP has time and again raised to (CHED) the illegality and questionability of these fees, but it has remained ‘inutile’ and ‘negligent’ of delivering justice to these cases,” the group added.
Youth groups held an indoor protest yesterday at the University of Santo Tomas to protest a proposed 5 to 7.9 percent tuition hike for the incoming year.
“Small yet steady doses of tuition and other fee increase inflict a heavy burden to students. These prove that the UST admin is peddling education as a profitable business instead of a social service,” said League of Filipino Students spokesperson Charisse Bañez.
“Payment for the university’s services should all be included in the tuition. By imposing other dubious school fees, UST clearly intends to double the profit they acquire from charging tuition fees alone,” she added.
Student and youth groups are planning a nationwide walkout on Feb. 27 to demand accountability on the Mamasapano incident and protest the new spate of tuition and other school fees increases.