An alliance of student councils, campus publications, and youth organizations filed a letter-complaint to the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) today to call for the scrapping of “other school fees,” which the group tagged as “one of the barriers to accessible and affordable education for Filipino students.”
In an 8-page letter-complaint filed at the Office of CHED Chairperson Patricia Licuanan this afternoon, RISE FOR EDUCATION (R4E) Alliance listed down several fees that are currently being collected by majority of tertiary schools in the Philippines on top of tuition.
“On top of the already burdensome tuition, other school fees such as development fee, energy fee, miscellaneous fee, athletics fee, cultural fee, examination fee, internet fee, late payment fee, registration fee, photocopy fee, among others, form a large chunk of what students and their families pay per academic year term,” the group said in their complaint.
According to data compiled by R4E, other school fees (OSFs) range from several hundreds of pesos up to P3,000. When combined, OSFs almost equal or at certain time even surpass the cost of tuition.
“Most of these fees are questionable, exorbitant, redundant and dubious, revealing a great deceit to students and parents. School expenses that should have already been covered by tuition are being passed on to students through charging of OSFs,” the group explained.
R4E National Convenor and National Union of Student of the Philippines (NUSP) President Sarah Elago explained that tuition should already cover the cost of instruction.
“As such, collecting OSFs is just a profitable racket for schools. When coupled with annual tuition increases, these twin burdens make education truly inaccessible for the vast majority of Filipino students and their families,” Elago maintained.
Elago added that while CHED “should supposedly have the power to regulate OSFs,” almost all other school fees remain unmonitored.
“School owners have abused the government’s reluctance to regulate school fees to charge these dubious OSFs. The government is thus equally accountable for propagating this system of deregulation that has led to the burgeoning cost of education,” she explained.
R4E urged CHED to “scrap all other school fees” and investigate the fees currently collected by both private and public tertiary schools for being “redundant, exorbitant, and dubious.”
R4E is a campaign alliance led by student councils, publications, school and community-based youth organizations with public servants, parents’ organizations, members of the academe, and other education advocates, all working together to defend and uphold the right to quality and accessible education.