MANILA – The Commission on Higher Education (CHED) on Thursday warned that the belt-tightening circular of the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) would “gravely impact” the reimbursement of tuition and miscellaneous fees for state universities and colleges (SUCs).
During a virtual meeting of the House committee on higher and technical education, CHED chair Prospero de Vera expressed concern over the DBM circular withholding the release of 35 percent of the programmed appropriations for this year, as it could affect the budget for Republic Act 10931 or the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act.
“We have written to the Department of Budget and Management that the position of the Commission is that the allocation for RA 10931, in so far as reimbursement of tuition and miscellaneous and TES (tertiary education subsidy), should not be included in the 35 percent reduction in the budget,” he said.
“Because this is not technically CHED money. This is money that goes through CHED so that they can be reimbursed to the state universities and colleges or awarded to the students as TES,” he added.
He noted that without this funding, the SUCs will not be able to operate several programs, or worse, maybe forced to collect tuition so they could generate income.
He said the DBM circular would also present difficulties for SUCs in hiring and paying part-time, contractual, and job order personnel.
“This will constrain their ability to pay their job orders, their contractual, and to be able to complete the projects that they are implementing for this year,” he added.
As for the financial impact of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) crisis on private HEIs, de Vera said any delay in school opening will affect the cash flow of these universities and the potential revenue loss.
“Unlike state universities and colleges or public universities, majority, as much as 74 percent, of private higher education institutions still use the old calendar (June-May),” he said.
“Because of the limitation of ECQ (enhanced community quarantine), many of them will not be able to open in June and are projecting to open in August,” he added. (IA/PNA)