MANILA — More than 100 students from different private and state universities in Metro Manila held a protest rally Friday afternoon, asking the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) to defer the proposed tuition increase by some leading private universities in the capital region.
April 28 was the deadline set by CHED for the consultations regarding the tuition and other fees hike requested by some private universities.
The students' protest rally started at the Quezon Hall of the University of the Philippines in Diliman. They then marched to the CHED office for a short program.
They carried placards and banners with messages asking CHED to defer the tuition increase applied by some private universities for the academic year 2023-2024.
For the National Union of Students of the Philippines (NUSP), the proposed tuition hike will impact the parents and the students, especially those coming from low-income families.
Joshua Aquiler, the national spokesperson of the NUSP, said a 5 to 10 percent increase in tuition and other fees was being proposed by the private universities.
“Ang panawagan natin dito ay tutulan yung dagdag singil sa matrikula at iba pang bayarin dahil ayon sa konsultasyon ng National Union of Students of the Philippines umaabot sa 4 percent to 10 percent na dagdag porsiyento ang inaaplay ng mga unibersidad na kasalukuyan ay taon-taon itong nagaganap at nakikita natin na patuloy itong ginagatasan yung mga kabataang estudyante at nagagalit tayo rito,“ Aquiler said.
The student leaders, he said, will continue to conduct protests to oppose the implementation of the increase.
“Ngayon ang deadline ng consultation process, ng CHED pero yung application pa niya ay until June kung kayat hindi kami titigil sa aming mga plans of action para tutulan talaga itong mga pagtaas ng singilat ano pang iba pang mga bayarin kaya nandito rin naka establish no ang samahan ng lahat ng unibersidad kung saan ang Rise for Education ay nakatuon duon sa pagkamit ng kalidad at abot kayang edukasyon,” he said.
One of the student leaders who attended the protest was Nathan Agustin.
Nathan Agustin, a student leader, said his university will be implementing a 7 percent increase in tuition and other fees.
Some students were dismayed, according to Agustin, because the consultation was done just yesterday, April 27.
“Sa ngayon ang prinoposed na increase during the consultation meeting yesterday was 7 percent po at yung nakikita po namin ang laki ng epekto nito sa marami naming kapwa estudyante dahil kung titingnan natin ang average na academic fee sa UST umaabot ng 50 thousand pataas at ang 7 percent po yan mataas po yan siguro makikita natin around 3,000 plus po marami po sanang pwedeng magawa sa 3,000 lalo na sa ngayon po na panahon na marami pa ang naghihirap pa, hindi pa tapos ang pandemya at ang pinakakailangan po sana namin ang oras para makausap ang mga estudyante namin ngunit yun nga lang ngayon na ang consultation period deadline at kahapon lang nangyari ang reveal kung ilan ang porsiyento,“ Agustin said.
Student leaders Rabbi Polina Danielle Cruz and Wyncyr Cuizon were also shocked by the proposed tuition increase of their schools, which they said was at 9.5 percent.
Cruz said with the proposed tuition increase, some students they have talked to were thinking of not enrolling this coming academic year due to financial difficulties.
“Ang iimplement of sa amin ay 9.5 percent. Naniniwala kami na ito ay hindi lohikal, hindi maka-estudyante at hindi makatao, 9.5 percent and just after the pandemic, maaapektuhan kami dito based on our survey may mga estudyante na hindi makakapag-enrol next year, maaapektuhan yung buong student life nila dahil yung ibibigay sana nila sa ibang pangangailangan mapupunta pa sa unjust increase sa fees,” she said.
For Cuizon, this year’s proposed increase was said to be the highest in the history of tuition increase in his school.
“Ngayong taon po ang pinakamataas pumalo po tayo ng 9.5 percent Definitely po makaapekto ito sa enrolles the turn out po ng enrolles sa next academic year,” Cuizon said.
With the 9.5 percent proposed increase, Cuizon said, their tuition might reach P68,000 to P70,000 per semester, from P50,000 to P55,000.
Student protesters hope that their appeal will be heard by CHED.