T HE UNIVERSITY will raise tuition by 6.2 per cent following the national inflation rate set by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) and the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), Vice-Rector for Finance Fr. Clarence Marquez, O.P. has announced.

The tuition raise will cover all the year levels, except the sophomore level, whose increase will be 8 per cent, based on the “sliding effect,” which, accountants from the Office of the Treasurer said is expected to offset the decrease in enrollment usually expected in the second year.

Although the 8 per cent increase is slightly higher than the inflation index, there is no legal limit to proposing increases beyond inflation rate, UST said. Moreover, student leaders were consulted on the increase.

The increase was announced following the supposed controversial Memorandum Order (CMO) 14 by the Commission on Higher Education.

The House Committee on Education later declared the memorandum illegal and some student activist groups have since demanded a refund.

In an interview with the Varsitarian, Fr. Marquez said that UST would not give in to the demand for refund since last year’s tuition since last year’s 5.5 per cent increase was below the 7.5 per cent national inflation rate set by BSP and NEDA.

“There is no clear and acceptable reason as regards students’ demand to have this year’s tuition refunded,” he said.

In addition, UST officials said consultations were conducted last year despite CMO14 allowing schools last year to waive the mandatory consultation with students on tuition increase as long as the increase was indexed with the inflation rate.

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Secretary-General Fr. Isidro Abaño, O.P. said that although the University had the prerogative not to consult students, the University, in fact, still consulted student leaders regarding last year’s 5.5 per cent increase.

Contrary to what was reported on Standard Express last March 9, Fr. Marquez clarified that it held a consultation last Feb. 26 on next year’s tuition increase with the Committee on Tuition Fee Increases, and representatives from the administrative and academic officials, the central and local student councils, the Samahang Manggagawa ng UST, the UST Faculty Union, the UST alumni, the Varsitarian, and the SyCip-Gorres Velayo accounting firm, UST external audit firm.

“The increase was in accordance with the University’s goal to give quality Catholic education to Thomasians,” Marquez said.

He explained that the 8 per cent increase on sophomores was due to the “sliding effect,” pegging incoming sophomore’s tuition with the tuition of freshmen.

Last year, the tuition of freshmen amounted to P962.15 per unit while sophomores were charged P948.65 per unit. This year, both would be charged P1,021.80 per unit.

Aside from the increase on tuition, some of the colleges and faculties have also added new fees, Fr. Marquez said.

Among these are the Faculty of Arts and Letters, which would be charging seniors a thesis advising fee of P332 and a thesis defense fee of P498; the College of Commerce, which would be charging juniors an entrepreneur fee of P260 and seniors a practicum fee of P200 and a technical data service fee of P40; and the College of Education and the Institute of Tourism, which would be charging incoming seniors a retreat fee of P1,700.

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“The new fees are requested by their deans depending on the demand of the college,” Marquez said.

Marquez justified the new increase.

“Increases in tuition and other fees are necessitated by economic realities, which pervade our daily lives. These financial items and instruments rebound to UST’s commitment to quality Catholic education — better and justly paid employees, developments in curriculum and programs, enhanced student services, continuing faculty and staff development, and improved facilities,” Marquez said. Kristine Jane R. Liu

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