THE APPROVAL of a faculty union’s president is now a prerequisite before higher education institutions (HEIs) can increase tuition.

The Regional Multi-Sectoral Committee on Tuition Fees (RMSCTF) reached this consensus in their second convention at the UST Graduate School last June 7.

Before the agreement, only student councils were included in the consultation process.

According to UST Faculty Union (USTFU) vice-president Rene Luis Tadle, faculty unions of HEI’s need to play a role in deciding the increase in tuition because 70 percent of the income derived from tuition increases are used for the salaries of faculty members.

“This time, the private education system will not only depend on what the school administrators or owners have to say, but also on the faculty, since 70 percent of the increase in tuition go to them,” Tadle said.

The committee also reevaluated Commission on Higher Education (Ched) Memorandum Order (MO) No. 13 because of the recent complaints against excessive tuition increases.

Ched MO No.13 sets the guidelines in increasing tuition.

In order to liberalize the MO, the committee mandated the presence of a Ched representative during consultations upon request of either the school owner/administration, teachers’ union, or the central student organization.

For transparency, the committee required the presentation of a school’s financial statement and a proof of the tuition increase utilization from the previous tuition increase.

“According to Republic Act 6728, 70 percent of the proceeds of the tuition increase should be used to increase the salaries and other benefits of teaching and non-teaching personnel. The requirement of the financial statement and tuition increase utilization will ascertain that fact,” Tadle said.

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Moreover, the committee agreed to extend the time of notifying the concerned parties of the consultation dates from 15 days to 30 days before the consultation period to allow the students and the faculty to have more time to study the tuition increase proposal.

However, Tadle clarified that these agreements are only recommendations which are still subject to Ched’s approval.

The other committee members present were Sonia dela Cruz (Ched-National Capital Region); Mariano Piamone Jr. (Coordinating Council of Private Education Association-Catholic Education of the Philippines); Luz Rojo (Department of Education-National Capital Region); Jose Ocampo and Rene Romero (Philippine Normal University); Raymond Egay (National Youth Commisson), Reynaldo Flores (Student Council Association of the Philippines-National Capital Region); and USTFU director Gil Garcia.

Another meeting is set on June 21 to resolve other issues on the regulation of miscellaneous fees. Elka Krystle R. Requinta

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