Thursday, June 9, 2016

17% of Private HEIs Nationwide Cleared to Increase Tuition

Wazzup Pilipinas!

In its 471st Joint Management Committee and Commission En Banc meeting, the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) approved the applications of 304 of 1,659 private higher education institutions (HEIs) for increase of tuition and other school fees for Academic Year (AY) 2016-2017.

Of the 304 HEIs, 280 or 17% of private HEIs nationwide will increase tuition. Two hundred fifty-two (252) or 15% of private HEIs will increase other school fees this year.

Across the private HEIs with approved increases in either tuition or other school fees, the average increase in tuition is 5.10% or the equivalent of PhP43.39 per unit, while increase in other school fees is 5.41% or PhP115.58.

Considering the total population of private HEIs, the average increase in tuition or other school fees is less than 1%. These increases vary depending on the HEI and the region.

In regions with the highest number of HEIs, the average per unit increase in tuition is PhP68.44 or 5% for NCR, PhP23.39 or 3.2% for Region IV-A, and PhP33.41 or 6.14% for Region III. For other school fees, the increases are PhP57.52 or 5.14% for NCR, PhP138.36 or 3.22% for Region IV-A and PhP487.71 or 5.28% for Region III.

In deciding on the reasonableness of tuition and other school fees, CHED is guided by: First,Section 42 of Batas Pambansa Blg. 232 or the “Education Act of 1982” which provides that, “each private school shall determine its rate of tuition and other school fees or charges… subject to rules and regulations promulgated by the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sports” (now DepEd, TESDA and CHED).

Second, Republic Act 6728 or the “Government Assistance to Students and Teachers in Private Education Act”, which requires HEIs, for every incremental tuition increase, to allocate 70% of the increase for the payment of salaries, wages, allowances and other benefits of teaching and non-teaching personnel; 20% for the improvement and/or acquisition of facilities, or modernization of buildings, equipment, libraries, laboratories and other similar facilities and the payment of other costs of operation; and 10% for the return on investment if they are stock corporations, otherwise, the remainder is to be utilized for the operation of the institution.

Third, CHED Memorandum Order (CMO) No. 3, series of 2012 or the “Enhanced Policies, Guidelines and Procedures Governing Increases in Tuition and Other School Fees, Introduction of New Fees, and for Other Purposes,” which takes into account the following factors: regional inflation rate, financial standing of the institution, financial capacity of the general studentry, impact of force majeure or calamities, quality track record of the school, and the mission and vision of the institution.

Fourth, the “education deflator”, which measures the average cost of providing education services based on the regional inflation rate. The use of this framework will be further strengthened and fine-tuned in the coming years.

CHED’s approach to the issue of tuition is holistic. In the light of contending concerns and interests in society, there is a need to balance access issues with sustainability of educational institutions. For its part, CHED ensures that HEIs meet the guidelines provided by law, especially the requirement of consultation, the proper allocation of tuition fees, and strict adherence with the processes that seek to make tuition and other school fee increases transparent, reasonable and affordable.

For AY 2016-2017, the Commission has programmed close to 280,000 Student Financial Assistance Programs (StuFAPs) slots amounting to more than PhP5.7 billion. CHED StuFAPs support deserving students enrolled in public and private HEIs. A large portion of these funds will go to more than 40,000 poorest of the poor students enrolled in State Universities and Colleges (SUCs) under the Expanded Student Grants-in-Aid Program for Poverty Alleviation (ESGP-PA). These students belong to families identified by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) under the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps).

Finally, in order to sustain the positive impact of democratized access to higher education as manifested in the recent graduation of the first batch of SGP-PA students and the significant infusion of funds aimed at benefitting even non-poor students from families with cash flow problems, the Commission worked on the passage of Republic Act No. 10687 or the “Unified Student Financial Assistance System for Tertiary Education (UniFAST)” Act, a landmark social legislation penned into law by President Benigno S. Aquino III on 15 October 2015.

Designed to unify all modalities of publicly-funded StuFAPs (i.e., Scholarships, Grants-in-Aid and Student Loans) for Tertiary Education, the UniFAST rationalizes the allocation, utilization and client-targeting of government resources and improves access to quality higher and technical education for those who need it. It also serves as the ultimate national human resource development mechanism and strategy that will direct beneficiaries to priority degree programs needed for economic growth and development.

Issued this 8th of June 2016 at the Higher Education Development Center Building, C.P. Garcia Avenue, Diliman, Quezon City.

For the Commission:

Patricia B. Licuanan, Ph.D.

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