Tuition hike bid of 16 schools in R-12 endorsed

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/27 May) — The Commission on Higher Education (CHED) in Region 12 has endorsed for approval by its central office the application of 16 private colleges and universities in the region to increase their tuition and other fees this school year.

Jocelyn Santoceldes, CHED Region 12 education supervisor, said Monday they issued the endorsement based on the results of the initial evaluation conducted by the regional office on the documentary requirements submitted by the concerned institutions and their compliance with various conditions set for the fee increases.

She clarified that CHED regional offices only receive and evaluate the application for the tuition fee increases and the final decision on the matter is made by the commission en banc.

“We’re still waiting for the (commission en banc’s) decision. Until that comes out, all these applications are not yet considered as approved,” she told MindaNews.

CHED central office reported last week that 451 private colleges and universities in the country have applied for another round of increases in tuition and other fees for this school year.

The regional offices initially recommended the approval of the petitions of 344 institutions and denied those of 107 others.

CHED Chairperson Patricia Licuanan said the five-man commission en banc will deliberate and make a final decision on all applications on Monday (May 27).

In Region 12, the CHED regional office said 16 private colleges and universities in the area have applied for the fee increases.

Region 12 comprises the provinces of South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani, North Cotabato as well as the cities of General Santos, Koronadal, Tacurong, Kidapawan and Cotabato.

In this city, the colleges and universities that applied for tuition fee increases were the Notre Dame of Dadiangas University, Holy Trinity College, AMA Computer Learning Center and the AMA Computer College.

They were joined by Notre Dame Siena College in Polomolok, South Cotabato; Notre Dame of Marbel University in Koronadal City; Notre Dame of Tacurong College in Tacurong City and Notre Dame of Salaman College in Lebak, Sultan Kudarat; I Link College of Science and Technology, AMA Computer College and Dr. P. Ocampo Colleges in Cotabato City; Southern Philippines Methodist College, Central Mindanao Colleges and Notre Dame of Kidapawan College in Kidapawan City; and, Southern Christian College and Notre Dame of Midsayap College in Midasayap, North Cotabato.

Dr. Zohrahaydah Panawidan, CHED Region 12 assistant director, earlier said the 16 institutions, which were seeking 5- to 10-percent increases in tuition and other fees, have fully complied with the requirements set by the commission by the April 15 deadline.

Three other applications filed by the deadline last March 31 were denied by the regional office due to lack of requirements and for failing to meet the deadlines.

Panawidan said the requirements include consultations with students, parents and other concerned groups about the proposed tuition hikes.

CHED requires that 70 percent of the applied increase in tuition and other school fees should be allocated to the upgrading of teachers’ and school personnel’s benefits, salaries and allowances while the remaining 30 percent should go to improvements in school facilities and equipment.

Panawidan said they carefully evaluated the applications and documentary requirements submitted to their office and specifically checked whether they implemented “illegal fees.”

“Colleges or universities found imposing illegal fees are immediately disqualified from applying for tuition fee increase,” she said.

Meantime, Santoceldes clarified that once the applicants get their final approval from the CHED central office, the increase in tuition and other fees will only be applied to all their incoming first year students.

She those in second year level and above are not covered by the fee increases and will be charged based on their college or university’s old rates.

Region 12 has a total of 92 colleges and universities, 87 of which are owned and operated by private groups, companies and individuals.

Last year, 13 of the 222 colleges and universities nationwide that were granted authority by CHED to implement tuition and school fee increases were from the region. (Allen V. Estabillo/MindaNews)