SORSOGON CITY (27May2013) – Responding to Commission on Higher Education (CHED) Chair Patricia Licuanan’s earlier statement to the media that the commission has yet to “officially approve” on Monday, May 27, the proposed tuition increases in 344 colleges and universities nationwide, youth groups led by Kabataan Partylist pointed out that several schools with pending proposals have already begun the enrolment period, with new rates already being implemented.
Originally, 451 colleges and universities applied for tuition increase in the coming academic year, but CHED regional offices only forwarded 344 applications to the CHED main office. According to Licuanan, the earlier reported 344 approved hikes have yet to be decided upon by the commission en banc.
However, Kabataan Partylist President Terry Ridon pointed out that several colleges and universities with pending tuition increase proposals have already begun the enrolment period. This includes De La Salle Araneta University and Lyceum of the Philippines University, which proposed a 5-percent and 7-percent tuition increase, respectively.
“Though on paper it’s not yet approved, schools are already charging the new and higher rates. So what CHED en banc will be doing on Monday will just be purely ceremonial,” Ridon said.
“Schools can cite portions of CHED Memorandum Order (CMO) No. 3, series of 2012 to justify their collection of new and higher fees even without CHED approval,” Ridon said.
According to Section 9.1 of CMO 3, “Should the CHEDRO (regional office) fail to act within 30 days from the filing of application but in no case later than April 15 of the same calendar year the intended increase shall be implemented, would mean (sic) that the CHEDRO has no objection to the said application.”
“In essence, the proposals are already pre-approved and CHED has once again served as a mere stamp pad to these increases,” Ridon added.
Kabataan Partylist has earlier announced that it will file a petition to the Supreme Court to halt the implementation of tuition hikes by tomorrow. However, as CHED will still meet on Monday to approve the pending tuition hikes, the youth group decided to adjust the day of filing to Tuesday, May 28.
“We want to include the CHED memorandum as one of the basis for our petition in the SC, so we’ll wait for the CHED en banc decision,” Ridon said.
“We are again witnessing how inutile our government is in protecting the interest of the masses in the way it is turning a blind eye to the worsening state of education in the country. We will not let this new spate of increases go unnoticed. Students believe that these hikes are exorbitant and unsubstantiated and must therefore be stopped at all costs,” Ridon ended.