January 31, 2023

Requiring private schools and higher education institutions to return “unused” tuition as a result of the suspension of classes due to the coronavirus disease-2019 (Covid-19) pandemic might result in more people losing their jobs, an official of the Baguio City Association of Private School Administrators (BCAPSA) said.

Last week, the city council passed two resolutions requesting all private universities in the city to study the possibility of refunding or giving discount on school fees that remain unused by students due to the suspension of classes.

In the city council’s May 4 session, BCAPSA president Annie Caguioa said officials of private schools were bashed and even received death threats as a result of the council’s resolutions.

“Some even call us gahaman (greedy),” Caguioa said, and explained that private schools cannot refund “unused” tuition because classes have since resumed using modular or online instruction.

She said private schools are in fact at a quandary as to how to collect unpaid tuition of their students as parents of their learners have lost their jobs as a result of the quarantine.

Caguioa said big schools have enough funds to pay for the salary of their personnel until the end of the school term but this is not the case for smaller schools.

Small schools are those with less than 500 enrollees and whose personnel are mostly hired on a contractual basis.

She warned that if they are unable to collect the balance of unpaid tuition and other school fees, some personnel might be retrenched, or worse, schools might cease to operate. 

Caguioa said officials of private schools are considering to extend the deadline of payment or giving discount, not a refund.

For unused miscellaneous fees, Caguioa said some school administrators have considered giving a refund or will propose to the parents-teachers association to use the remaining funds for transition into a blended learning setup.

Caguioa said if and when a school decides to refund, this is not automatic as this will require approval of their respective boards of trustees.

Meanwhile, the city council said directed the city public information office to clarify the press release it issued earlier. The council said the resolution is a mere request. – Rimaliza A. Opiña