April 14, 2024

Student organizations in the Cordillera decried the impending increase in tuition and other school fees in four private institutions in Baguio City for the school year 2024-2025.

In a joint position paper submitted March 25, the regional chapters of the National Union of Students of the Philippines, Cordillera Editors Guild of the Philippines Cordillera, and Kabataan Party-list called on the Commission on Higher Education-Cordillera for a dialogue on the proposed increase in fees.

The position paper stated the University of Baguio is set to implement a 10 percent increase in tuition, alongside a five percent rise in miscellaneous fees while the University of the Cordilleras plans to raise both tuition and miscellaneous fees by five percent.

Saint Louis University has announced a freeze on tuition increase, yet it will impose a seven percent increase in miscellaneous fees.

Pines City Colleges has indicated a proposed tuition increase, but the group said the exact breakdown of the amount has not yet been disclosed.

The groups said the increase would not only affect students but also parents who are paying the school fees, which puts a strain on the mental health and well-being of those affected. 

Aside from the high fee increase, the students are calling out against the redundant fees citing the Information and Communication Technologies fees in SLU and the Land, Infrastructure, Maintenance, Acquisition, and Development fees in UC, which they said needs to be examined.

The groups said changes in tuition, especially about its increases, should be consulted and decided with the school’s stakeholders.

“As major stakeholders of academic institutions, students have every right to be involved in the democratic processes on the changes that will affect them. At the very least, student councils should be consulted regarding tuition and other fee increase (TOFI),” the groups said. 

The student groups also called for CHED and concerned agencies to require all educational institutions to provide transparent and practical justifications for any proposed TOFI including a breakdown on how these additional fees will be used.

They said there should also be a systematic review of tuition fees of private higher education institutions to help prevent redundant, exorbitant, and dubious fees. – Ofelia C. Empian