Thursday, May 19, 2005

CHED pegs tuition hike at 8.4 percent

The Commission on Higher Education (CHED) on Wednesday said it will allow only an 8.4 percent tuition increase for private colleges and universities this school year. This was contained in CHED Memorandum Order 14.

CHED acting chairman Carlito Puno told DZMM that the policy was made after President Arroyo ordered state colleges and universities to suspend tuition increases as part of the efforts to provide economic relief to the public.

"What we are thinking of is putting the ceiling at par with the national inflation rate, which at present, is 8.4 percent. Any increase over 8.4 percent must be submitted to us for approval," Puno told DZMM in an interview.

He said schools that fail to justify tuition increase above the rate will be ordered to cut on fees later.

He said he has ordered 16 regional CHED offices to monitor tuition increase this school year.

He added that students or their parents can report any questionable tuition increase to regional CHED offices.

He said CHED will approve petitions for tuition increase above the 8.4 percent ceiling on a case-to-case basis.

"For example, the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila didn't increase tuition for the past three years. Now they are filing for a 20 percent increase, which we are more likely to grant because of the previous circumstance," he said.

He added: "Some students might also request for an increase in athletic fees, especially if they want to become champions in college basketball tournaments."

Records showed that of the 1,342 private schools all over the country, 205 or 17 percent filed for tuition increase this year.

CHED data showed that 66 of the 244 colleges and universities in Metro Manila asked for an increase. The Asian Theological Seminary, a graduate school, asked for the highest increase, from P600 for every unit to P1,500 for every unit, or a 150-percent increase.

The Mapúa Institute of Technology asked for a 6.75-percent increase, from P1,244.18 to P1,302.91 for every unit.

De La Salle University asked for a 3.19-percent increase from P1,645.97 to P1,696.97 for every unit. Saint Scholastica’s College intends to raise its tuition from P1,260 to P1,335.60 for every unit, or an increase of 6 percent.

CHED said the average tuition increase ranged from 13.14 percent in 2000 to 11.37 percent in 2004.

CHED also announced new guidelines on tuition increase.

Puno said university officials do not need to consult parents and student bodies if the tuition hike is less than or equal to the prevailing inflation rate of 8.4 percent as set by the National Economic and Development Authority.

CHED also said that a school’s official newspaper or publication should be allowed to cover the consultation, which should be held within school premises.

Las Piñas Rep. Cynthia Villar, meanwhile, praised CHED for exercising its power to regulate tuition and all other fees of higher education institutions.

She said CHED officials should strictly monitor colleges and universities that have consistently failed to produce deserving graduates.

"We have rules about that, especially schools that have graduates who fail to pass exams. CHED has the power to shut down these schools," she said in a DZMM interview.

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