CHED reports higher enrollment, but graduation, drop out rates unchanged

RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 18 2023 05:45 PM

MANILA —The Commission on Higher Education (CHED) on Thursday reported that enrollment in the past few years rose due to free college tuition.

Student enrollment "increased dramatically" to 4.1 million in 2022 from 2.9 million in 2017, CHED chairperson Prospero de Vera told an oversight hearing of the House Committee on Appropriations.

"The enrollment increased especially for baccalaureate programs from 2.6 million to 3.8 million students. Not significant with post baccalaureate and masters degrees, but significant also in the doctorate level, so more faculty members are doing their PHDs which we have been pushing for to improve the quality of education," De Vera added.

He reported that more students were going into courses in fields the country needs, including criminology, engineering, technology, IT-related disciplines, and social and behavioral sciences. 

De Vera said more students "preferred" public schools over private schools.

"The biggest news is that there is a dramatic shift in enrollment from private schools to public universities. The enrollment prior to free higher ed was basically private led but after RA 10931 there are more students enrolled now in public universities," he said. 

However, CHED noted that graduation rates did not go up while drop out rates remained the same.

"The not so good news is that if you look at graduation rates, the graduation rates have not increased as significantly as the enrollment rates," De Vera said. 

"And if you look at CHED data on dropout and attrition rates, across the years from 2016 to 2022, the dropout rate continues to be significant about 34 percent over the years, and the dropout rate I think is more significant in private universities than public universities because of the cost of education," he said.

The CHED has it disbursed 78.49 percent of the P26.054 billion budget for Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education for 2022, De Vera reported.

The remaining 29.07 percent from the obligated amount are for ongoing payments of payables worth P5.377 billion.

"The reason why there are still amounts that have not been disbursed is because some schools are still having liquidation issues so we cannot release the funds to them," De Vera said.

He said the funds would be released once the schools have liquidated previous expenses.

The panel will have a second hearing on CHED next week.