MANILA, Philippines – The Commission on Higher Education (CHED) on Tuesday, April 14, said that the decision for a refund on tuition fees would come from universities and colleges during the coronavirus pandemic.
CHED Chairperson Prospero de Vera III, however, said that this only applies to private institutions as tuition and miscellaneous fees of students of state universities and colleges are paid for by the government. (READ: LIST: State colleges and universities covered by free tuition law)
"The payment of tuition fees [in private insititutions] is a contractual agreement between the university and the students. There are certain expectations on the part of university and on the part of the students. So this is best left for the students and the university to resolve," De Vera said in a press briefing.
In a bid to contain the spread of the virus, several areas of the Philippines, including the whole island of Luzon which houses over 57 million residents, were placed on lockdown in mid-March.
Classes have been cancelled in Luzon since the lockdown started.
However, several schools have opted to make up for lost time with online classes, following a CHED advisory that encourages schools to use “available distance learning, e-learning, and other alternative modes of delivery in lieu of residential learning if they have the resources to do so.”
"It doesn't mean that everything stops. That's why we're also allowing the universities to extend the semester by one month so that the completion of courses will be made possible," De Vera added. (READ: CHED: Colleges, universities free to adjust academic calendar)
Last March 25, students of the top schools in the country had urged CHED to suspend online classes nationwide. (READ: Students of top 4 PH schools urge CHED to suspend online classes)
In a statement, the students said that while they "understand the need for learning to continue, the different circumstances of students across universities are not ideal and conducive for such."
Online classes at the University of the Philippines (UP) Diliman remain suspended as of Tuesday. An advisory council, however, recommended to the UP Board of Regents to end on April 30 the second semester for academic year 2019-2020.
Meanwhile, Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU) announced that it would shorten this year's second semester, and would give students a refund amounting to P20,000 from tuition fees and 60% of lab fees.
CHED also said on Tuesday that it would be up to universities and colleges to decide whether to implement mass promotion of students.
As of Tuesday, the Philippines registered 5,223 cases of coronavirus, with 335 deaths and 295 recoveries. – Rappler.com