Baria, an incoming first-year psychology student, said she was “frustrated, anxious and disappointed” and was caught off guard upon finding out that CDSL would shut down just six days after she enrolled herself and paid P11,000 for the tuition.
She came from Tagkawayan, Quezon province, and moved to Quezon City with her single mother because “we expected that the school was OK.”
“All along, I thought my freshman year would go smoothly but it appears that it ended up in vain. Now I have to spend more time, money and effort to look for another school with my degree program,” she told the Inquirer on Tuesday.
On Tuesday, the city government-run Quezon City University expressed its intention to accept students from CDSL, so they could have a “smooth transition.”
Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte said she had also instructed the city’s legal department to “quickly look” at how the city government could further help the affected students, parents, teachers and employees of CDSL.
Commission on Higher Education Chair Prospero de Vera III on Tuesday informed the House of Representatives that there might be an element of deceit in the sudden closure of CDSL, citing the collection of tuition by the school prior to its arbitrary shutdown.
On Tuesday’s meeting of the House committee on higher and technical education, chaired by Baguio City Rep. Mark Go, De Vera told the panel that the CHEd National Capital Region was informed only last week by CDSL that it was closing.
“I think it is the first time that a school, rather arbitrarily, closed without informing the commission ahead of time. The other private universities that closed before put advance notice and sat down with the CHEd so that the procedure for closure can be observed,” he pointed out.
“We have existing requirements for closure and suspension of programs that we issued last year and there are potential violations to the process that they observed,” De Vera said.
He added that he has directed the CHEd executive director and the NCR regional director to sit down with the school’s officials to discuss the possible violations committed, pointing out that under existing CHEd rules, “you need to inform the commission 60 days before you close or suspend programs.”
In the case of CDSL, “they accepted already tuition and then arbitrarily decided they will not open. So there is a certain element of maybe deceit because as far as the commission is concerned, once you accept tuition that is already a contractual agreement between you and the student that you will provide education in exchange for the fees that you are paid… and arbitrarily you just say, ‘we’re not going to provide you education anymore.’”
While many schools have closed before because of the financial challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, he noted that CDSL’s decision was “late and abrupt” considering that they already accepted enrollees.
“Usually when schools close, they plan it one year ahead and then reach out to CHEd. In this case, there is a problem because it was so sudden,” De Vera said in an interview with dzBB.
CDSL Pampanga still open
“They should have ensured that students would not be aggravated and prepared their records so they could transfer to another school,” he added.
CDSL, located along Congressional Avenue in Quezon City, is owned by the Balgan family. It is headed by Mary Claire Therese Balgan, who serves as president.
The Balgans also own CDSL Pampanga, which will remain open.
“Colegio de San Lorenzo de Pampanga has been receiving inquiries and concerns regarding the announced closure of (CDSL) Quezon City. We would like to assure our students, parents, and all stakeholders that CDSL Pampanga is not affected by that decision,” the school’s administration announced on its social media page.
—WITH REPORTS FROM DEMPSEY REYES, JUN A. MALIG AND TONETTE OREJAS