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CHED sees tuition, other fee hikes in private HEIs amid pandemic

The Commission on Higher Education (CHED) on Monday said it sees a possible increase in tuition and other fees in the country's private higher education institutions which were forced to move the start the academic year to August due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Aside from operational expenses, we also have to consider some efforts that the HEIs are doing right now in terms of module development, the engagement of teachers and students in the learning management system, the expenses of the institution in the flexible learning modalities, as well as some technological infrastructures that will be required," CHED Commissioner Aldrin Darilag said in a Senate hearing.

"Mawala man ang ibang operational expenses, mayroon ding papalit na expenses for us to implement flexible learning. I think we have to consider those other items," he added, noting that CHED is now crafting policies and guidelines for hike in tuition and other fees.

Around 3.5 million learners in the country's tertiary education are affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the CHED official.

Among the other challenges faced by the sector are the possible decline in enrolment for the next semester, revenue losses for private HEIs, displacement of part-time and non-regular faculty, and connectivity concerns.

CHED Chairperson Prospero De Vera recently proposed to the government to offer a special voucher program for the children of displaced overseas Filipino workers to help reduce the expected dropout rate among college students.

He also appealed for the provision of wage subsidies to thousands of affected employees in private HEIs.

"There are more than 50,000 part-time faculty members in higher education institutions who suffer because there is 'no teach, no pay' for them. They are not included in any amelioration program of the government," De Vera said.

"We have to help them, especially because the opening of classes for private universities is moving to August, so, many of them have not had anything since the end of the semester all the way to August. That's about half a year already," he added. — DVM, GMA News