THE UNIVERSITY has no choice but to hike tuition next academic year in addition to using savings to keep its faculty and maintain school facilities amid the disruption caused by K to 12, UST Rector Fr. Herminio Dagohoy, O.P. has said.
Dagohoy said the proposed hike would go to salary increases for faculty members and University personnel.
“[T]here will be a new round of salary increases for the faculty. Basically, 70 percent should go to faculty members,” Dagohoy said in a chance interview with the Varsitarian last March 7.
Dagohoy also cited fixed costs such as electricity, janitorial services and others.
“We have a lot of fixed expenses that we really have to maintain otherwise there will be complaints. We have to dig into whatever savings we had in the past … until we return to [normalization in] 2021,” he said.
Dagohoy was referring to the normalization of the number of college enrollees in 2021 after the transition period of the K to 12 curriculum, which added two more years to the country’s basic education system.
The proposed 10-percent tuition increase for the next academic year amounts to P138 per unit for first- to fourth-year students, P135 per unit for fifth-year students, P232 per unit for Civil Law students, P206 per unit for Graduate School students taking up master’s programs, and P252 per unit for those taking up doctorate programs.
A student taking 21 units will pay an additional P2,898 per semester or P580 per month.
The University did not apply for an increase in tuition and other fees last year after decades of hikes, amid tight competition for enrollees among universities on the first year of the K to 12 transition.
“[W]e don’t want to increase the fees as much as possible [but] it’s necessary. We would like UST education to [maintain its] quality,” Dagohoy said.
Failure to implement an increase could prompt some UST professors to transfer to high-paying universities, Dagohoy said.
“We don’t want to hire professors who are not qualified. The students will suffer,” he said.
Student leaders appeal
Central Student Council (CSC) President Janela Nartates said she was opposed to the proposed hike, claiming the allocation of fees was unclear.
“The breakdown of fees and the reasons why the increase is needed were not clear. The fact that the population of the Senior High School will increase next year, I think that’s enough to compensate for what is needed,” Nartates said in an online interview.
Student leaders will appeal to the administration to cut the proposed tuition hike, Central Board of Students Speaker Ferdinand Nykko Bautista bared.
“Nag-usap-usap kaming mga presidents ng [iba’t-ibang] colleges para malaman ‘yung ibang side ng mga students, kung pro or anti sila sa tuition hike,” Bautista said in an interview with the Varsitarian.
The Central Board was set to sign an official appeal to the administration and submit it to the Rector on March 9, Thursday, he said.
Bautista said they raised concerns regarding professors who seldom attended classes during tuition consultations with administrators last Feb. 14.
“We already addressed the [concerns to] Vice Rector for Academic Affairs Dr. Clarita Carillo. If what we get is worth the money we pay, meaning quality education, we don’t have a problem with it. [B]ut then there are professors who don’t go to class,” Bautista claimed, without going into specifics.
Civil Law Student Council President James Christian Ballecer noted that UST is a non-stock, non-profit institution.
“So if it’s non-stock [or] non-profit, I’m not really sure if they really have savings to that effect,” Ballecer said in an interview.
Dagohoy responded by saying that UST does not distribute dividends and all excess funds go to the general fund of the University at the end of each year.
“The savings of non-stock, non-profit institutions go back to the general fund and general savings, so it’s practically a procedure, unlike the private [or] for-profit universities, at the end of the year, they declare dividends,” Dagohoy said.
Ballecer lamented that student leaders were “left with no choice” as administrators presented and justified the tuition increase during consultations last Feb. 14.
“[But the] brighter side of the story is that we were given the opportunity to speak up, what views we had in mind,” Ballecer said.
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