Students Hold National Day of Action vs. Tuition and Miscellaneous Fee Hikes

Slam new round of fee increases for next school year

22 February

The National Union of Students of the Philippines (NUSP) and KABATAAN Partylist led students from various private schools around Metro Manila in a “national day of protest against unabated tuition and other fee increases” today at the University Belt in Manila.

Around 2000 students from various schools such as University of Sto. Tomas, Far Eastern University, University of the East-Manila and Recto, De La Salle Araneta University, Centro Escolar University, Mapua Institute of Technology, Colegio de San Juan de Letran, Lyceum of the Philippines, St. Scholasticas College, Asian School of Arts and Sciences and the Technological Institute of the Philippines-Quezon City participated in a program along Morayta Avenue that showcased the students’ creativity and energy, with KABATAAN Partylist mascot “Isko” entertaining passersby.

“The National Day of Action today is particularly timely because this month, many schools are proposing to implement tuition and other fee increases next school year in the series of tuition consultations currently underway,” said NUSP secretary-general Alvin Peters.

Peters said that any proposed increases in tuition and other fees next year are “completely unjustified” because the question of the legality of the fee increases implemented last school year “remains unresolved and unaddressed.”

Peters revealed that the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) had released two memoranda which amended CHED’s highly controversial Memorandum No. 14 (CMO 14): CHED Memo Order 42, series of 2006 and CHED Memo Order 7, series of 2007. Students had protested CMO 14 for having placed exemptions to student consultations, namely for tuition increase proposals below or equivalent to the national inflation rate and fee increases for incoming freshmen.

“CHED has essentially conceded that CMO 14 is illegal for having removed student consultations in the first place,” Peters said. “By amending the illegal memo order, CHED has validated the students’ demand that tuition and other fee increases imposed this school year using CMO 14 are all illegal and should be refunded.”

CHED Memo 42 amended CMO 14 by in effect setting the prevailing national inflation rate as the tuition cap and restoring mandatory consultation for all levels.

But Peters maintained that amending CMO 14 still remains “not good enough, especially in the light of a new round of tuition and other fee increases and despite the failure to refund illegal fee increases for the current school year.”

Peters said that several schools have already held tuition consultations using the amended CMO 14 as the guidelines for the proposals for fee increases in June. “St. Scholasticas College concluded their tuition consultation Wednesday with a proposal 6 percent tuition increase, while the Technological Institute of the Philippines-Manila and QC campuses have announced plans to increase tuition by 6.2 percent, the national inflation rate as declared by CHED. Some schools according to Peters are also allegedly proposing increases above the 6.2 percent national inflation rate, such as the Asian School of Arts and Sciences with a proposed 10 percent tuition hike.

“As long as these yearly increases in school fees continue unabated and tuition spirals ever higher, tertiary education will continue to remain a distant dream for millions of Filipino youth,” said Raymond Palatino, KABATAAN Partylist national president and nominee. “And hence, in the coming 2007 elections, the youth will present this challenge to the aspiring lawmakers, whether or not these potential lawmakers take up our challenge will be our standard for electing them,” Palatino said.

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