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Students storm CHED to protest fee collection, hikes

February 9, 2018

QUEZON CITY – Youth and students led by the National Union of Students of the Philippines (NUSP) stormed Commission on Higher Education (CHED) on Friday to condemn the proposed increase in tuition and other school fees (TOSF) this year and the continuing collection of TOSF in State Universities and Colleges (SUCs).

“Due to this Commission’s inutility, private Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) have freedom to increase TOSFI without any disapproval from the government, while SUCs still find ways to collect tuition and other school fees, despite having a Free Education law in place,” NUSP Deputy Secretary-General Raoul Manuel said.

The Union exposed on Monday that around 400 schools will increase tuition and other school fees this year at an average rate of six to ten per cent.

“The increase in tuition and other school fees is indeed an added burden to students. We are talking about thousands of pesos in addition to the expensive cost of education in private schools,” Manuel claimed.

‘Maneuvers’ in SUCs

NUSP also slammed the continuing tuition and other school fees collection in State Universities and Colleges.

According to the Union, several SUCs ‘maneuver’ RA 10931 or the Universal Access to Quality Higher Education Law to still collect fees from the students.

“In Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP), students were required to pay miscellaneous fees amounting to P1,500 to P6,000. Freshmen also paid the whole amount of tuition and other school fees,” Manuel reported.

“In University of the Philippines (UP), some students were forced to opt-out of the free tuition policy. In the Manila campus of UP, freshies also paid tuition and other school fees,” Manuel added.

NUSP also received complaints from Visayas State University where free tuition was implemented to cover all students on the first semester of Academic Year (AY) 2017-2018, but was withdrawn in the second semester and the school switched to limiting the beneficiaries of free tuition, similar to the discriminatory Socialized Tuition System of UP. Moreover, the school revised its grading scheme to automatically give a grade of 5.0 (failure) to students with INC (incomplete) standing.

“Under the deceptive law, students with failing grades will no longer be qualified for free education. This implies that the school can now collect tuition and other fees from them, regardless of the fact that some students fail their subjects because, in the first place, they work while studying to cope with the exorbitant school fees,” said NUSP.

Education becoming a business

The student union likewise denounced the “profiteering” in private schools through tuition and other school fees increases.

“Private school owners lie through their teeth when they say that tuition hikes will lead to higher quality of education. Their historical financial data belie their own statements: fee hikes only result in higher profits for these capitalist-educators who see education as a good business venture,” claimed Manuel.

According to the study conducted by the NUSP, among the schools with millions of revenues from tuition and other school fees last 2016, the University of the East (UE), Lyceum of the Philippines University (LPU), and Far Eastern University (FEU) topped the list with 600 million pesos each in gross revenue from tuition and other school fees.

“Duterte and his agencies should know what they are signing up for. The more expensive education gets, the bigger the protest actions will be outside their gates. They must brace up to face the students’ rage if they continue being a protector of these capitalist-educators,” ended Manuel.

NUSP called on to the students to join the National Walkout on February 23.