THE ACCOUNTING office has started charging students for breaking laboratory equipment at the start of every semester, catching some students by surprise.

This was to clean up the University’s books every semester, and because parents have been complaining of having to pay accumulated breakage fees before graduation, the Laboratory Equipment and Supplies Office (Leso) said.

Students interviewed by the Varsitarian wondered how the Leso computed the fees, since they often work together in groups during laboratory classes.

“I don’t know how they came up with individual breakage fees. Also, we were not informed about it prior to enrollment,” said Nursing junior Maricar Anastacio.

Leso administrator Ross Vasquez said members of a laboratory group would be charged every semester depending on policies of the college and the professor in charge.

“Since [previously] the breakage fee was only collected before graduation for their whole stay in the University, the amount that students would pay individually greatly varied [as they belonged to different groups],” said Vasquez.

“This [academic] year, the accounting office required us to submit a laboratory breakage fee report every semester, which will then be collected from the students upon enrollment to achieve clean accounting records,” Vasquez said.

He said the “laboratory fee” is different from the “breakage fee” since the former is charged for using the laboratory and equipment, while the latter is the cumulative amount that students have to pay every semester for equipment or materials they have broken, chipped, or stained.

“The guidelines are printed at the back of the borrower’s form to inform students of how to use and take care of various laboratory equipment,” Vasquez said.

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Last, semester, breakage fees ranged from P18 to P12,000 for a single student.

“[When] most parents [started] complaining about the expensive amount they [had to] pay, the accounting office decided to do the collection per semester,” Vasquez said.

Vazquez said colleges with laboratory courses were informed beforehand of the change. “Once we release the list of due breakage fees, it is the college’s responsibility to inform the students about it,” he said.

The breakage fee computation is based on the borrower’s form which includes the list of group members in each class. The entire group will then be held liable for any damage done to equipment. The total amount will be divided by the number of members in a group.

Engineering student Royce Salvatierra, who paid P920.83 for breakage during enrollment, said the computation was unclear.

“I inquired about the matter at the dean’s office and [they] said that they cannot show the records to me at the moment because they only have those which are dated in 2010,” he said. “I think it’s too much because we haven’t even utilized much of the equipment for chemistry laboratory.”

In such cases, Vazquez said it was possible some students broke something without their group mates’ knowledge. “But it’s impossible to have our computations wrong since we do it per semester.”

He added that the breakage fee varies depending on the type and price of equipment.

“If they don’t want to pay for what is due then try to be careful with the glasswares,” Vasquez added. “Students must read the reminders on the back of their borrower’s form, and be more careful when handling laboratory apparatus.” Camille Anne M. Arcilla and Alyosha J. Robillos

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1 COMMENT

  1. I am Mr. JV Ignacio, Vice Pres. of the College of Nursing’s Faculty Association. First of all, let me congratulate the Varsitarian for this article inquiring about the lab breakage fee. However, i strongly feel that the issues have not been made clear.

    1. It seems that LESO is saying that the faculty members in-charge of laboratories and the colleges are the ones determining the amount of the breakage fee. However, I’ve talked with some of the College of Nursing’s lab professors and they said that they are not charging the students anything; and yet nursing students still pay breakage fee. therefore, there is a need to investigate this issue further. I request that Varsitarian should inquire in the different colleges their policies regarding the breakage fee.

    2. It is also important to note that students are not being shown any proof that they have broken/damaged/destroyed any particular instrument or lab equipment. Since the breakage fees vary per student, it is therefore assumed that each student has a particular accounting of his/her lab expenditures. Such a document needs to be shown to the student in order to justify these fees.

    I do hope that my observations here will be taken with consideration. Many thanks and God Bless.

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