During today’s meeting of the Senate Committee on Sustainable Development Goals, Innovation and Futures Thinking, the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), through Commissioner Aldrin Darilag, reported the challenges posed by the 2019 Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) to the Philippine higher education sector. One of those challenges mentioned is the possible demand for an increase in tuition fees among private higher education institutions. This might be due to the forecasted decline in the number of enrollees and other incurred revenue losses brought by the pandemic.
In the latter part of the meeting, an inquiry from one of the senators was raised to the Commission relative to this matter. The question pertains as to whether or not the rate of tuition fees will remain the same for the succeeding semester given the lesser operational expenses of private HEIs since the conduct of in-person classes is no longer an option. The Commission responded that policies and guidelines governing the assessment, validation and approval of requests to increase tuition fees are still under review and deliberation. He said that although there could be a reduction in the operational expenses of an HEI, the ‘new normal’ expenses to adopt the flexible learning modality such as module development, capacity-building of faculty and the purchase of technological infrastructure should also be considered in the formulation of such parameters.
“To set the record straight, I did not say that the Commission will impose or even influence hiking tuition and other school fees in the middle of a pandemic. We in CHED are aware of the financial burden that our learners and their parents bear during this unprecedented crisis. Rest assured that we are doing our best to at least take the worries of matriculation out of their minds by making it possible to retain if not lower the existing tuition fee rate,” Commissioner Darilag clarified.
DR. ALDRIN A. DARILAG CHRP, RMT, RN