House urged to probe 1,600% PUP tuition hike

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REP. Terry Ridon of Kabataan party-list on Monday called on the House Committee on Higher and Technical Education to summon Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP) President Emmanuel De Guzman to explain the reported 1,600 percent increase in tuition and other school fees being proposed by his administration.

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Documents provided by the Central Student Council showed that the state-run PUP is proposing a new schedule of fees where incoming senior high school (Grades 11 and 12) students for academic year 2016-2017 will be charged a flat rate of P16,000 in tuition and other school fees.

Jess Ferrera, PUP Central Student Council president, said the new schedule of fees was approved by the PUP Executive Committee on Sept. 4, 2014 and is now up for deliberation by the PUP Board of Regents, the school’s highest policy-making body.

De Guzman earlier denied the reported tuition hike, explaining that the new fee schedule reflects the breakdown of expenses per student for PUP’s plan to absorb 10,000 high school students under the Kindergarten to Grade 12 (K-to-12) program next school year.

Ridon expressed concern that the new schedule of fees will also be imposed on all PUP students in the future.

At present, a freshman pays an average of P1,500 per semester while a high school student in the PUP laboratory school pays an average of P1,000 per year.

The P12 per unit rate has remained despite numerous attempts at increasing the cost of education in the state university.

“Congress should swiftly step into this issue as this is already the second time that the PUP administration has attempted to increase tuition rates under De Guzman’s watch,” Ridon said.

In March 2013, the university planned to introduce a new standardized tuition rate of P1,500 per unit. However, PUP students strongly opposed the plan, forcing De Guzman to stall and subsequently deny the proposal.

The lawmaker also called on the House panel to look into reports that the PUP administration under De Guzman has been systematically siphoning off millions of pesos from the Student Trust Fund.

All collections from PUP students for various school fees go to the Student Trust Fund.

Ridon said he will flesh out all allegations against De Guzman in a House resolution he will file this week.

The PUP student council on Monday lambasted De Guzman for denying the proposed tition hike.

“Don’t insult us. You can’t make fools out of the students,” Jess Ferrera, PUP Central Student Council President, said.

Students held assemblies and noise protests on Monday morning to denounce the proposed fee increases. In the afternoon, participants converged at the main university gate where they tore their registration forms to express their resolute stand against the 1,600 percent tuition hike.

The protests are held in preparation for the campus walkout as the PUP Board of Regents meet on Tuesday to discuss the proposal to increase school fees.

“We will fight for our right to education. We will not let the PUP admin railroad the 1,600 percent tuition increase,” Ferrera said.

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