The Cost of Higher Education

Carmina Bayombong

Take five high school graduates. Two of them will not pursue higher education due to high tuition fees and miscellaneous expenses. The other three may find their way into college, but with a whole new set of challenges to overcome- the biggest being financial problems.

Financial problems are the leading cause of our country’s very low college graduation rate, which has been 18–20% for the past ten years, both for public and private higher education institutions. In fact, back in 2014, more than 600,000 college students dropped out of school due to financial problems.

Why has the problem of financial accessibility in higher education persisted for so long?

Limited Funding Opportunities

Your ordinary student in a public higher education institution would need at least 58,000 pesos annually for school. That includes fees and daily stipend in order to be in the right condition to learn. Unfortunately, these students and their families have very limited options for funding. Scholarships are too few and too competitive. State loans are insufficient, because for every peso that a student needs to attend college, the government can only provide 8 centavos. Additionally, loans from financial institutions such as cooperatives and banks are either limited to its members or require a collateral.

With the lack of inclusive financial services for education, it is no wonder why for the past ten years, only one out of five college students make it to graduation day.

Higher Education for All

InvestEd’s mission is to ensure that all higher education students have access to financial aid by 2030. We tackle this challenge through a crowdlending platform that connects financially in need and deserving college students with lenders.
InvestEd opens its student loan program at Polytechnic University of the Philippines, Sta. Maria, Bulacan. For more information, visit

We saw how ripe the market was for our initiative, given that the Philippines’ philanthropy and impact investing market have a combined present worth of 33.6 billion pesos. Additionally, Southeast Asia also ranks first in impact investing, with education as the top investment choice.

Financial accessibility in higher education is an urgent, but solvable problem. With great collaboration, we can help millions of Filipino youth achieve their dreams.

References: Philippine Statistics Authority, 2013 | Commission on Higher Education, 2013 | Asian Development Bank, 2013