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78 private universities in NCR intend to hike fees

By National Union of Students of the Philippines
April 16, 2018

QUEZON CITY – Among the private universities and colleges in the National Capital Region (NCR), 78 submitted petitions to raise their tuition and other school fees.

National Union of Students of the Philippines (NUSP) spokesperson Mark Vincent Lim slammed the proposed fee increases as a sign of the “worsening system of profiteering” on education.

“Rising prices of goods and commodities due to the TRAIN Law have already been a great burden to Filipino families under the Duterte administration. Even the cost of education is no exemption. There are no signs that Duterte will stop fee increases so as to allow capitalist educators to amass more profits by selling education,” said Lim.

According to the student union, private school owners already “milked” millions of pesos from the Filipino youth. Among those are Lyceum of the Philippines University (LPU), Far Eastern University (FEU), and University of the East (UE) who topped the list with at least 600 million pesos each in gross revenue for 2016 from collecting fees.

“At the end of the day, kawawa ang mga kabataan if the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) and the Duterte government will favor the interest of capitalist educators way more than the welfare of students. There is not a time in history when the interests of big businessmen were not factored in the policy making of CHED,” claimed Lim.

Included in the 78 schools are Ateneo de Manila University, De La Salle University - Manila, De La Salle Araneta University, Far Eastern University, University of the East, Centro Escolar University, Adamson University, and University of Asia and the Pacific.

More profits from public funds

“Profiteering is not just about the collection of tuition and other school fees in private schools anymore. Capitalist educators found a way in tapping the public funds, which are supposedly intended for free education, for their profit,” said Lim.

Lim added that the recently released implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of the free ed law allow owners of private schools to rake in profit from the national budget.

From the data gathered by the Union, the P40 billion funding for the “free education law” is allotted for various programs: P16 billion and P7 billion for free education in SUCs and in technical-vocational programs, respectively; P16 billion for the Tertiary Education Subsidy (TES), from which the tuition and other school fees of students in private schools can be billed; and P1 billion for student loans.

“Duterte’s free and accessible education is just pure press releases and soundbites. While 1 in every 4 students of state universities and colleges (SUCs) still paid tuition and other school fees in AY 2017-2018, a huge portion of funding in the form of the TES go straight to the pockets of private school owners, at the expense of the students’ right to free education. This is the government’s way of assuring businessmen that they will not run out of enrollees and source of superprofits,” added Lim.

“Duterte is exposed as insincere in making education more accessible to all. Collection of various fees is still rampant both in private and public schools. There is indeed a necessity for us to stand up against Duterte for his anti-student and pro-businessmen policies disguising as pro-student reforms. We call on the youth to carry out protest actions on April 19 in opposition to fees collection and increases in their respective campuses,” ended Lim.