With the incessant increase in tuition and other school fees each year, not only have tuition and other school rates almost doubled under President Benigno Aquino III’s presidency, but the profits of top private universities as well.
In a new study released by Kabataan Partylist on Wednesday, it was revealed that several top private universities in the country increased revenues and profits since Aquino assumed the presidency in 2010.
Data culled from the annual financial reports submitted to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) show a steady increase in profitability of some of the country’s most well-known private higher education institutions (HEIs), with some universities almost doubling their annual profit in a span of just five years.
Far Eastern University (FEU), a university that consistently appears in the annual Business World Top 1,000 Corporations, posted an 81-percent growth in net profits, from P713 million in 2010 to a whopping P1.08 billion in 2015.
The Lyceum of the Philippines University (LPU) meanwhile posted an over 140-percent growth in net profits in the past five years, with the Intramuros-based university posting a total of P657.6 million in net profits in 2015, more than double its P272.6 million declared net profit in 2010.
The University of the East (UE) also increased its profits in the same period, with the school growing its net profit by over 30 percent, from just P352.3 million in 2010 to P463.5 million in 2015.
Non-stock, non-profit universities also posted considerable increases in net revenue, or total collection net of operating expenses. The De La Salle University (DLSU), for example, posted a 62-percent growth in net revenue, from P381.9 million in 2010 to P734 million in 2015.
The University of Santo Tomas (UST) also posted an increase in net revenue, from only P941 million in 2010 to over P1.3 billion in 2015.
“With the highly deregulated nature of the Philippine education system, college education has become a very lucrative business, with many private universities posting billions upon billions in profit. These data show that under President Aquino, this system of moneymaking in education has clearly gone from bad to worse,” said Sarah Elago, president of the National Union of Students of the Philippines (NUSP) President and Kabataan Partylist first nominee.
Elago, along with Kabataan Partylist Rep. Terry Ridon, reported these findings in a legislative forum on tuition and other school fees conducted by the House Committee on Higher and Technical Education (CHTE) today.
Soaring tuition rates
The rise in profits and revenues coincide with the upsurge in tuition and other school fee collections in private colleges and universities.
Data from SEC show that many top private HEIs posted increased tuition and other school fee collection in the past five years.
Source: Securities and Exchange Commission
In UST, collection from tuition and other school fees has increased by over 40 percent, from a total of P2.9 billion in 2010 to P4.1 billion in 2015, SEC data show. This translates to an increase of over P27,000 in the annual matriculation rates of a UST student in just five years, with the average tuition and other school fees in the said school ballooning from P68,000 in 2010 to over P95,000 in 2015.
In DLSU, the situation is almost the same, with the university posting a 62-percent increase in its total collection from students in the past five years, from P1.8 billion in 2010 to P2.9 billion in 2015. This raises the average annual matriculation in the said university from P93,000 in 2010 to over P151,000 in 2015.
Students of the Ateneo de Manila University (AdMU) also need to prepare six-digit school fees a year, with the university posting a 43-percent growth in tuition and other school fee revenues, from P1.9 billion in 2010 to P2.7 billion in 2015. The average annual matriculation in AdMU has consequently increased from P187,000 in 2010 to P266,000 in 2015.
“The incessant increase in the rates of tuition and other school fees is the result of the government’s extant policy of deregulation and commercialization of education. Aquino, and his alter ego in the Commission on Higher Education, Chairperson Licuanan, has allowed college education to become more unaffordable and inaccessible. This administration virtually did nothing to stop these increases,” Rep. Ridon said.
Similar situation in state schools
While state universities and colleges (SUCs) have yet to reach six-digit annual school rates, that situation may change soon, with the country’s 113 state schools also posting large hikes in tuition and other school fee collection under the Aquino administration.
Source: Department of Budget and Management
Data compiled from the Department of Budget and Management show that the total tuition collection in SUCs has increased by 55 percent, from P5.3 billion in 2010 to P8.1 billion in 2015.
Collection from other school fees is meanwhile growing faster, with SUCs posting an 83 percent increase in total other school fee collection in the past five years, from P2.6 billion in 2010 to P4.7 billion in 2015.
Despite being subsidized by the national government, state schools have been gradually increasing their tuition and other school fee rates in the past years, in compliance with the “self-sustaining” framework under the Roadmap for Public Higher Education Reform, Aquino’s masterplan for public higher education.
Schools have been implementing various schemes to gradually increase tuition collection. UP, for example, implements a “Socialized Tuition System,” wherein students pay varying costs, depending on their assessed financial capacity.
UP has increased its tuition collection from P355 million in 2010 to P473 million in 2014.
“The cost of higher education, especially public higher education, is not only a local concern – but a national issue. The current state of college education in the country – which is highly unaffordable and inaccessible for the common Filipino – is the result of the Aquino administration’s continued push to turn education into a business venture, a luxury commodity, rather than a right,” Elago maintained.
“Clearly, a radical reorientation of our education policy is needed. The fight against tuition and other school fee increases is not just a localized issue – it’s a fight against an extant policy that has eroded and snatched the youth’s fundamental right to education,” she added.
Youth and student groups led by Kabataan Partylist and the Rise for Education Alliance are staging nationally-coordinated walkouts on February 27 and March 11 to campaign against the new wave of tuition and other fee increases for the upcoming school year and call on the president to scrap the deregulation policy and freeze matriculation rates nationwide.
Rise for Education estimates that about 400 colleges and universities are again planning to increase tuition rates for academic year 2016-2017.###