CHED urged to halt tuition, school fees hike amid inflation

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, April 25) – A group of student leaders has urged the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) to impose a moratorium on tuition and school fees hike for the next academic year in private schools, arguing that families struggle to cope amid the high inflation and job shortage.

In a statement on Monday, National Union of Students of the Philippines (NUSP) spokesperson Joshua Aquiler said tuition hikes can further disadvantage students who are already struggling to make ends meet as most of them come from families with limited resources.

“Our country has yet to recover from the economic crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic—we are still facing record-high inflation and job shortage,” he said.

The inflation rate cooled down in March to 7.6% from 8.6% recorded in February, the Philippine Statistics Authority reported. But it still lags behind the country’s inflation target range of 2% to 4% this year.

READ: PH inflation cooled to 7.6% in March, lowest in 6 months

Aquiler added the annual cost of higher education in the Philippines, which is pegged at ₱150,000, is nowhere near the capacity of a Filipino household earning minimum wage.

“Tuition hikes will drag most Filipino families further to poverty while making the top richest elites—tycoons who venture in running education as a business—richer at the expense of the common Filipino’s access to education,” he said.

In their position paper submitted to the CHED, the group noted tuition and other school fees have been increasing despite the ongoing global health crisis.

Data showed the average rate of tuition fee jumped to 12.06% in the academic year 2020-2021 from 10.49% in 2019-2020. Meanwhile, the average rate of other school fees more than doubled from 12.55% in 2019-2020 to 30.39% in 2020-2021.

Also, according to the group’s research, out of 10 students who entered primary education, only nine finished based on government data in 2021. From that number, only seven students pushed through with secondary education. Of the seven, the NUSP said only six were able to graduate high school. And out of the six, only two continued to college.