Some private universities and colleges in Cebu will be implementing tuition increases from 5 percent to 10 percent for the coming school year this June.
School officials told the new rates will take effect in all year levels for the University of San Jose Recoletos (USJ-R) at 10 percent, Cebu Institute of Technology University (CIT-U) at 7 percent, the University of Southern Philippines (USP) at 6 percent and Cebu Doctors University at 8 percent.
For some schools, the adjustment applies only to incoming first year students.
These are South Western University (SWU) at 5 to 10 percent, the University of Cebu (UC) and University of the Visayas (UV) at 6 percent, and Cebu Eastern College at 9 percent in all courses.
There is no change in tuition levels for the University of San Carlos and three state universities – Cebu Normal University, Cebu Technological University and the University of the Philippines (UP) Cebu.
Dr. Noe Quiñanola, USJ-R comptroller, confirmed yesterday that the Catholic private university run by the Order of Augustinian Recollects already sought permission from the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) about their intention to implement a 10 percent increase.
The increase will apply across the board from pre-school and elementary to college levels. Under the law, 70 percent of the collection of tuition increases should be used for faculty salaries, 20 percent for improving school facilities and 10 percent for a fair return on investment for owners.
“We have submitted all requirements to CHED. Usually, they give an approval letter later but if you submit, it’s good as approved. That’s been our experience,” Quiñanola said.
The plan to hike tuition was posted in school bulletin boards and relayed to students as part of CHED requirements to consult all stakeholders before the actual increase is made.
The school president Fr. Enrico Peter Silab, OAR held a dialogue with the Supreme Student Council, representatives of the lay administrators and the religious administration at the USJ-R conference room last April 16, according to a press statement.
“The university president… confirmed that tuition will indeed be increased but, following a very thorough discussion by the USJ-R school board, he said the increase has been arrested at 10 percent”, the statement said. “This means students will only be asked to pay an estimated P300 more each month on top of what they are currently being charged per semester.”
USJ-R currently charges P620 per unit or about P11,160 per semester for an 18-unit course. A 10 percent increase would push the rate to P682 per semester.
However, this is still lower than fees in another Catholic private university in Cebu where tuition is over P1,000 per unit, said a USJ-R faculty member, who spoke on condition of anonymity. He said a proposal from USJ-R students to allow staggered monthly payment of tuition is being discussed as an alternative to the current three-stage payment during enrollment, mid-term exams and final exams in a five-month semester.
“You can see the improvements on campus and where the tuition is going. Each classroom is air-conditioned and has an LCD projector,” said the faculty member.
CIT-U accountant Leonardo Nabua, in a separate interview, confirmed that a 7 percent increase in all levels and all courses was already approved by CHED.
SWU president Elsa Suralta said the school applied for a 5 percent to 10 percent increase for incoming first year students. They are waiting for CHED approval. Tuition rates differ for courses.
Suralta said the increase was minimal and still bearable for parents and students. She said it would be burdensome for parents to enroll their children in first year at one tuition rate, then find themselves scrambling to cope with a sudden increase in the next years.
She said SWU, which offers medical courses, also needs to charge higher tuition to update the school’s laboratory equipment in order to stay competitive.
Cebu Eastern College principal and assistant director Sotero Cabanes said her school,which offers only five courses, has the lowest tuition of P320 per unit. They plan to increase this to P350 per unit for incoming first year students. The old fees will be maintained for upper level students. Cabanes said the increase will be for the salary increase for their teachers.
Dr. Augusto Go, president of the University of Cebu, said UC’s planned 6 percent increase for incoming freshmen students is minimal and no longer a surprise.
“Our policy in UC is that we increase tuition by 6 percent for the first year and maintain it until you graduate,” he said.
Offering rate-protection for currently enrolled students was a strategy introduced by UC. Other schools have followed this tuition model. Dean Rose Español of UV-Main said they will also be collecting a 6 percent increase for incoming freshmen.
Cirila Echavia, assessment-in charge for Cebu Doctors University, said they have announced to their students that the school will implement 8 percent increase in all courses. Finance officials in the University of San Carlos said three state university of CNU, CTU and UP Cebu, assured there would be no change in their tuition rates this June.
CDN tried to ask a list of schools with approved hikes from the office of CHED 7 director Amelia Biglete but was turned down. Her staff said under their policy, the central office in Manila would be the one to release the information. However, school applications for a tuition hike are still evaluated by the CHED 7 office in Cebu.