Youth groups to CHED: Impose tuition hike moratorium

YOUTH and student groups on Tuesday  called on the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) to impose a moratorium on all school fee hikes this year in light of rising living costs.

The group Anakbayan and National Union of Students of the Philippines (NUSP) issued the call as deadline for consulations on tuition hike proposals are due on February 28. NUSP, an alliance of 600 student councils nationwide projects a 10-15% increase in tuition rates for next year with about 400 schools nationwide expected to hike tuition.

They claimed that private school owners have been  imposing “unjust and exorbitant” tuition and miscellaneous fee hikes during the past years which the government failed to regulate.

Many schools have already begun consultations for tuition hike, posting proposals as high as 12%. Among those set to increase tuition in Metro Manila are University of the East (5%), University of Santo Tomas (6%), Far Eastern University (4.5%), Trinity University of Asia (10%), College of St. Benilde (5%), Technological Institute of the Philippines (9.6%) and Lyceum University (7%) and many others. In the Baguio, at least 8 major schools posted tuition hike proposals with an average of 9% increase. In Iloilo, at least 7 schools are set to increase tuition.

“The government should take action immediately and impose a moratorium on the hikes. Amidst price and fare increases, the tuition hikes will surely result to a dramatic increase in drop-out rates and will push more families to poverty,” said Vencer Crisostomo, Anakbayan national chairperson.

Crisostomo also said that many schools have been unjustly increasing tuition rates during the past years and have been collecting questionable miscelleneous fees.

“The CHEd’s guidelines on tuition hikes have failed to regulate abuse and profiteering of private school capitalists. School owners have been raking billions of pesos in profits during the past years at the expense of poor families and students,” said Crisostomo.

Financial records of the top 5 highest earning schools reflect net profit of P3.45 billion during the past 6 years, raking P15.43 billion in gross revenues. Last year alone, Far Eastern University posted P585 million in profits, while University of the East posted about P600 million.

“There is no reason for the Aquino government not to heed the demand to stop tuition and other fee hikes. That is, unless he is deliberately waging war on the youth and students; and is unjustly favoring abusive capitalist vultures at the expense of the people,” said Crisostomo.

Crisostomo said that youth groups are expected to hold nationwide protests against tuition hikes this week. Nationwide youth actions are set on February 24, 28 and March 4 against tuition, fare and price hikes. –D’Jay Lazaro

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