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ARMM schools shy away from tuition, fee hikes

/ 11:12 PM May 24, 2015

DAVAO CITY—Despite having been granted permission by the Commission on Higher Education (CHEd) to raise tuition, private colleges and universities in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) will not be increasing their fees.

Amor Pendaliday, CHEd-ARMM chief, said private educational institutions operating in the region had agreed that increasing tuition and other fees would discourage more parents from sending their children to school.

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The CHEd has recently given 313 universities and colleges permit to increase tuition by an average of 6.17 percent or about P29.86 per unit. For other school fees, CHEd declared an average increase of 6.55 percent or about P135.60.

“Academic institutions in the ARMM preferred not to increase their tuition because they want the parents in our region to send their children to college,” Pendaliday said.

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The ARMM is among the country’s poorest regions. The National Statistical Coordination Board has reported that 47 out of 100 families in the five-province region are poor or more than twice the national figure of 22.

The ARMM has about 51 private schools catering to students that its 15 state universities and colleges could not take in.

Second year college student Sittie Aisha Tawal from Mindanao State University (MSU)-Dalican campus in Maguindanao said the CHEd-ARMM announcement was a big relief for her parents.

Even if MSU is a government-operated institution, nonscholars still have to pay for fees.

“We are glad that we don’t have a tuition increase. It is good news for us, especially for our parents,” Tawal said.

The Kabataan party-list group said the “new spate of fee hikes will result in additional burden to students and their families.”

CHEd Chair Patricia Licuanan sounded apologetic in her announcement that 313 higher education institutions (HEIs) will again increase tuition and other school fees this academic year.

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“No amount of apology can dilute the fact that CHEd has once again betrayed its constitutional mandate to ensure the affordability and accessibility of education,” said Kabataan party-list Rep. Terry Ridon in a statement.

Ridon said the manner of presenting tuition hikes using averages and the equivalent increase per unit was misleading.

“The data presented by CHEd are highly misleading, as the commission only shows us the values as expressed in absolute averages. By presenting the data in this manner, schools with high tuition and other fee increases can hide among schools that charge less,” said Ridon.

“The truth of the matter is that there are many private HEIs that charge well over P80,000 per semester in tuition and other school fees,” Ridon said.

Ridon said despite CHEd’s pronouncements that it was taking a holistic approach in approving tuition hikes, it had allowed schools to continue “raking in billions in profit.” Karlos Manlupig, Inquirer Mindanao

 

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