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Lower entrance exam fees, Pimentel urges schools

/ 09:29 AM March 18, 2018
Aquilino Pimentel III - news conference - 1 March 2017

Sen. Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III INQUIRER file photo

College and university administrators should consider lowering their entrance examination fees, Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III urged on Sunday as parents of college-eligible students had complained about the “prohibitive” rates currently being charged by the major universities in the country.

“It is understandable for these kids to want to have options when it comes to college, and naturally their parents want to give them the opportunities. But if applying at one school requires a 500-peso fee, then applying to four, five schools can be quite expensive,” Pimentel said in a statement.

Even large state universities like the University of the Philippines (UP) and the Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP) charge rates similar to private schools—but have thousands more applicants, according to Pimentel.

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The Senate President said “around 80,000 students apply to UP each year, while roughly 60,000 take the PUP college entrance exam annually.”

“Even assuming these schools only charge half of the applicants the full rate, this means that, conservatively, UP and PUP earn something like 20 million pesos and 15 million pesos, respectively, on entrance fees each year. Does it really cost that much to administer these exams?” he asked.

The senator from Mindanao said Philippine educators and the Department of Education (DepEd) should come up with a “standardized test” for K-12 graduates acceptable to all tertiary education institutions—a single test that will eliminate the need for schools to administer their own entrance exams.

“At present all students at the grade 6, 10, and 12 levels are given the National Achievement Test. If this is considered insufficient to provide Philippine college admission offices with a means by which to assess applicants, then I encourage our educators to work together to come up with something akin to the US’ SAT (Scholastic Aptitude Test) and ACT (American College Testing) so that parents need not spend for so many entrance exams,” he added.

The SAT and ACT are standardized tests given to junior and senior high school students in the United States.

Either of the test, together with a student’s grades and other requirements—e.g., personal essays and teachers’ recommendations—are used by most American universities and colleges to screen applicants. /cbb

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