THE Commission on Higher Education (CHED) has approved the increase in tuition and other school fees in 304 private colleges and universities across the country for the academic year 2016-2017.
Of the 304 schools, 280 or 17 percent schools nationwide will increase tuition, while 252 or 15 percent will increase other school fees this year.
Across the private schools with approved increases in either tuition or other school fees, the average increase in tuition is 5.10 percent or the equivalent of P43.39 per unit, while increase in other school fees is 5.41 percent or P115.58.
Considering the total population of private schools, the average increase in tuition or other school fees is less than 1 percent. These increases vary depending on the school and the region.
The commission approved fewer tuition hikes this year than it did last year when at least 313 tuition hike applications were authorized.
In the regions with the highest number of private schools, the average per unit increase in tuition is P68.44 or 5 percent for NCR (National Capital Region or Metro Manila), P23.39 or 3.2 percent for Region IV-A (Calabarzon), and P33.41 or 6.14 percent for Region III (Central Luzon).
For other school fees, the increases are P57.52 or 5.14 percent for NCR, P138.36 or 3.22 percent for Region IV-A and P487.71 or 5.28 percent for Region III.
CHED said that in deciding on the reasonableness of tuition and other school fees, it took into account regional inflation rate, financial standing of the institution, financial capacity of students, impact of force majeure or calamities, quality track record of the school and mission and vision of the institution.
According to CHED Memorandum Order 3 Series 2012, 70 percent of the proceeds will be used to increase payments and other benefits of teachers, personnel, and other staff, 20 percent for improvements or modernization of buildings, and 10 percent as return on investment of the school owners.
The commission, meanwhile, has allotted more than P5.7 billion to fund the tuition of at least 280,000 needy yet promising students enrolled in public and private colleges and universities under the Student Financial Assistance Programs (StuFAPs).
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).
NEIL A. ALCOBER