THE UNIVERSITY has settled for a 7.02- to 9.96-percent tuition hike next academic year from the earlier 10-percent proposal, following consultations with the central and local student councils.
Under the final schedule of fees released by the Office of the Vice Rector for Finance, the tuition for first-year students increased by P138 per unit (or 9.96 percent), P97 per unit for second-year students and third-year students (7.02 percent), P131 per unit for fourth-year students (9.72 percent), and P130 per unit for fifth-year students (9.91 percent).
The Faculty of Civil Law has yet to release its schedule of fees while the Graduate School did not get a tuition increase.
The initial proposed hike amounted 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.
Student Accounts Supervisor Agripina Corpuz said Rector Fr. Herminio Dagohoy, O.P. decided to lower the tuition hike as a concession to student leaders.
“After proposing, siyempre `yung [mga] student councils nakikipag-usap… pupunta muna kay Father [Dagohoy] and kakausapin [siya]… that is why bumaba din naman `yung [increase],” Corpuz told the Varsitarian.
Outgoing Central Board Speaker Ferdinand Bautista said they sent a letter to the Rector and raised their concerns during consultations with the administrators, arguing that the increase might affect future enrollees of the University.
“[Tuition does not] decrease. Therefore, the increase of 10 percent will [be] retained and the trend of succeeding increases will follow,” the letter read.
Central Student Council Public Relations Officer-elect Francis Gabriel Santos said the hike was not “justifiable.”
“[T]hey are only increasing the tuition for the increase of the salary of our dear professors but as I look at the schedule of fees, there are some increases in other fees and miscellaneous fees particularly the library fee,” Santos said in an interview.
Physical Education fees went up by P276 to P3,040 for first-year students and by P194 to P2,958 for second-year students.
Thomasians enrolling in the Reserved Officers Training Command (ROTC) will pay an additional P207, at the new rate of P2,280; while those who will enroll in the National Service Training Program (NSTP) will pay an additional P146 at the new rate of P2,219.
The Community Service fee also went up by P50 to P200, while the Special Development fee increased by P250 to P1,750. An increase in the library fee was also implemented.
“Ang may increase sa miscellaneous `yung library lang kasi mataas ang [maintenance value]… tayo daw kasi nadedehado sa library. May justification iyan bago magtaas,” Corpuz said.
Other fees that increased were for learning systems management, student activity fees and local student council fees, which vary across colleges.
In a letter addressed to the Rector, the Commission on Higher Education (CHEd) approved the tuition hike last May 30.
CHEd Memorandum Order 19 series of 2016 however allows the University, as an autonomous higher education institution, to increase tuition even without the commission’s permission.
Corpuz said CHEd approval was still important so the commission would be informed of the University’s tuition increase.
In a chance interview with the Varsitarian last March 7, Dagohoy said 70 percent of the proposed hike would go to salary increases for faculty members and University personnel.
By law, 70 percent of tuition increases must go to salaries, wages, allowances, and other benefits of teaching and non-teaching personnel; while 20 percent to the improvement or modernization of buildings, equipment, libraries, laboratories, and similar facilities, and payment for other operational costs. The remaining 10 percent represents return of investments for higher educational institutions if they are stock corporations. Otherwise, it must be used for operations.
The University did not hike tuition last academic year despite the tight competition for enrollees among universities in the first year of the K to 12 transition.
In 2015, the administration implemented a 2.5- to 5.3-percent tuition hike and increases in library, Physical Education, NSTP and ROTC fees.
Santos said the administrators should explain the detailed distribution of fees to students before implementing tuition increase.