More Students Transfer from Private to State Schools


But fee hikes, limited slots force transferees to dropout, says youth group

A growing number of the country’s college students are transferring from the private schools to state colleges and universities due to rising costs of private-school education. But state schools have been increasing their tuition and other fees in recent years. Because of this, thousands of college hopefuls might be forced to drop out of school this year.

BY BULATLAT
Vol. VIII, No. 18, June 8-14, 2008

A growing number of the country’s college students are transferring from private schools to state colleges and universities due to rising costs of private-school education. But state schools have been increasing their tuition and other fees in recent years. Because of this, thousands of college hopefuls might be forced to drop out of school this year.

Citing recent trends in enrollment, youth group Kabataang Pinoy revealed that due to the rising cost of education, more and more students enrolled in private higher education institutions are either forced to transfer to state schools or find themselves dropping out altogether.

Records from the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) show that in 1980, only 10 percent of college students were studying in state schools. By 1994, the number went up to 21 percent and at present already accounts for almost 40 percent of the country’s tertiary-level student population.

“But many of these transferees will find themselves dropping out of college. The problem is, there are no more rooms in state schools either,” Kabataang Pinoy President Dion Carlo Cerrafon said.

“State universities and colleges (SUCs) are confronted by similar problems. Poor education spending and annual budget cutbacks force state schools to impose enrolment quotas and increase fees, forcing many state scholars to leave,” he added.
As a result, Cerrafon said, access to public higher education institutions, which is the last resort for students who want to obtain a college degree, has become impossible to many college hopefuls.

“While it is true that SUCs offer tuition lower than private schools, tuition rate and miscellaneous fees in state schools and universities have seen the biggest increases in recent years, thus making SUC education also inaccessible to ordinary students,” he explained.

Last year, the University of the Philippines (UP) increased its tuition by 300 percent, from P300 ($6.50 at last year’s average exchange rate of $1:P46.15) to P1,000 ($21.67) per unit.

Another state institution, the Eulogio Amang Rodriguez Institute of Science and Technology (EARIST) in Manila, implemented a 600-percent tuition hike, resulting in a 50-percent drop in enrollment last school year. From last year’s P15 ($0.32) per unit, EARIST now charges P100 ($2.27 at the June 6 exchange rate of $1:P44.14) per unit. Laboratory fees also increased from P25 ($0.54 at 2007 rate) to P500 ($11.33 at June 6 rate).

The Philippine Normal University (PNU) had already increased its tuition by 400 percent in 2003.

The country’s biggest state school in terms of population, the Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP), was also poised to hike its tuition by 525 percent last year but was forced to shelve its plan due to massive student protests. It would have increased tuition from P12.50 ($0.27 at 2007 rate) to P75 ($1.62) per unit.

Cerrafon said state schools are also forced to accept only a limited number of students due to budget cuts.

Last year, the University of the Philippines (UP) Office of Admissions said some 66,000 high school graduates all over the country applied for the UP College Admission Test (UPCAT). But only an average of 12,000 applicants are admitted each year. For example, some 14,000 applicants on the average seek to enter the UP College of Nursing but only 70 or 0.5 percent are admitted.

The same goes with PUP. PUP has 16 branches and extensions in Luzon and each unit conducts its own PUPCET (Polytechnic University of the Philippines College Entrance Test). In PUP’s main campus in Sta. Mesa, Manila, more than 50,000 thousand students take up the entrance test every year but only 10 to 13 thousand on the average are admitted. One of the lowest passing rates in PUPCET history was recorded in 2006, when only 7,357 examinees passed the entrance test.

Cerrafon added that the increases in tuition and other fees would certainly have an effect on the enrolment of poor but deserving students coming from the provinces.

“Rising fees will certainly daunt bright students from depressed and remote areas of the country from enrolling in UP or other big state schools and eventually force them to settle for poorly-maintained state colleges in the provinces or worse, give up their college dream.”

Studies from private think-tanks and international organizations show the effects of rising cost of education, even in public higher education institutions. In June 2004, the Wallace report pegged college dropout rate at a staggering all-time high of 73 percent. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) National Commission of the Philippines, on the other hand, reported a measly 22-percent overall student survival rate from 1st to 4th year college. Bulatlat

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