calls out CHED over free tuition funds
February 12, 2018
QUEZON CITY – A
nationwide student union is calling to investigate the Commission on
Higher Education (CHED) regarding the use of over eight billion
pesos allotted to free tuition for calendar year 2017.
National Union of Students
of the Philippines (NUSP), the broadest alliance of student councils
in the country, expresses grave concern over the disbursement of the
Higher Education Support Fund (HESF), which is supposed to cover the
tuition of students enrolled in state universities and colleges (SUCs)
for the first and second semesters of Academic Year 2017-2018.
“CHED should have already
given each SUC its share of the free tuition funds. But up until
now, CHED has not released any report as to how the funds have been
disbursed,” said Raoul Manuel, NUSP Deputy Secretary General.
Based on Joint Memorandum
Circular 2017-01 released by CHED and the Department of Budget and
Management, CHED must post on its official website the amount of
HESF funds disbursed to each SUC within one month after the end of
each enrollment period. However, no official documents pertaining to
this have been released by the Commission to date.
Impact on student fees
For the NUSP, the delay in
the release of funds has adversely affected students enrolled in
SUCs. “We have gathered numerous reports from students who were
compelled to pay tuition fees despite the existence of the free
tuition policy. More stringent requirements were imposed on students
so that many would be exempted from the policy and be forced to pay
tuition,” lamented Manuel.
“Others were not charged
tuition but were compelled to pay higher miscellaneous fees in their
schools. This is part of the measures taken by SUCs to secure their
profits at the expense of the students,” said Manuel.
He added that some schools
like the University of the Philippines (UP) introduced new fees this
academic year “to ensure their profits while CHED has not yet given
them their share of the funds. In UP, students must pay hundreds to
thousands of pesos simply for the use of classrooms, conference
rooms or outdoor venues.”
“Decades of implementation
of government policies that commodity education, have pushed SUCs to
become profit-oriented. Looking more deeply into the problem, it is
not surprising that SUCs are doing this. Thanks to our
commercialized educational system: it has become the instinct of
schools to charge higher or new fees to keep their bank accounts
filled to the brim.” ended Manuel.