TOO MANY students go for UST and it shows in the school’s increasingly congested classrooms.

The problem is evident in the Faculty of Arts and Letters where one Theology class—despite the standard room air-conditioning—is stuffed with as many as 59 students. The number is 14 more than the accepted ratio of 45 students per classroom.

Students paid at least P43,000 this semester.

Since 2005, freshmen admission has steadily increased by almost 21.6 percent, according to data from the Office of the Registrar. In 2006, UST accepted 10,271 first-year students. The figure climbed to 12,765 the following year, 13,132 the next, and 13,324 in 2009.

The increasing enrollment indicated a continued preference for UST as the university of choice among many Filipinos, especially when other schools in the University Belt are said to be experiencing an opposite trend.

Still, the population problem is real and it requires structural, if not, creative, solutions soon.

“We borrow rooms because we do not want the students to have classes in a large number,” said Jean Reintegrado, secretary of the College of Fine Arts and Design, noting that CFAD students hold lectures at the Faculty of Engineering on certain days.

“We want the students to have enough breathing space,” she said.

CFAD students also use two classrooms in the Domus Mariea Residences, a dormitory beside the Beato Angelico Building.

The colleges of Science, Rehabilitation Sciences, and the Faculty of Civil Law also have to deal with classroom shortage due to the increase in students.

Science Assistant Dean John Donnie Ramos said the college had difficulties with room assignments at the start of the academic year because the Biology program added another section, and Civil Law took some of the college’s classrooms.

RH bill: Spawn of statism

“Because of these, we were left with no choice but to use our laboratories as lecture rooms,” he said.

Civil Law Dean Nilo Divina said he had to “borrow” classrooms because of bigger enrollment.

“From around 200 students, we were able to spring to 300 [this year]. Our college now has a very good number of 670 students from first year to fourth year,” he said.

Science and Civil Law are both housed in the Main Building, together with the Faculty of Pharmacy and administrative offices.

While classrooms are in short supply, the College of Rehabilitation Sciences (CRS) wants more laboratories. The CRS is using the Main Building’s laboratories, as those in St. Martin de Porres Building are already being used by the College of Nursing and Faculty of Medicine and Surgery.

“We would particularly want to request for more skills laboratories for we don’t have enough laboratories for zoology, chemistry and physics,” CRS College Secretary Donald Lipardo said.


The pressure actually comes from the growing number of applicants passing the entrance examination every year.

Faculty of Pharmacy Dean Priscilla Torres said her college saw an increase in the number of applicants this year to 5,000 from 3,000. However, because of the limited number of rooms and laboratories, Pharmacy can only have as much as eight sections.

“We had seven sections in the last two years in the Medical Technology and Pharmacy programs, but we have eight sections this year, and only one section for Biochemistry,” Torres said. “We can’t accept more even if we wanted to.”

New graduates of Education

The College of Commerce and Business Administration offers this advice to other colleges—control the population by setting the bar higher when the number of applicants jump.

Dean Ma. Socorro Calara described this as “control over admittance.”

“The number of applicants in our college has not changed conspicuously in the past, but there has been a large increase in the number of applicants this year,” Calara said. “[In order] to compensate for that (the increase in applicants), we set the bar higher for them (applicants) and slots are strictly on a first-come, first-served basis.”

Calara, however, said she can accept more applicants this coming school year.

“We try to maintain 24 or less sections for freshmen with only 45 students each because that is just how much the building permits us to accommodate,” Calara said.

Commerce has 21 sections for Basic Education in Business and just two sections for Entrepreneurship in the first-year level.

Meanwhile, Science and CRS are experimenting by compressing classes to four days to free up classrooms. But students have to endure longer hours.

“To maximize the utilization of the available classrooms, we extended the class hours from 7 (a.m.) to 7 (p.m.),” the CRS’ Lipardo said. “However, we make sure that students have at least one day off a week, either on Monday, Wednesday, or Saturday.”

Lipardo said the college has also imposed higher cut-off in scores in IQ, Science, and English in the entrance exam for freshmen to maintain the ideal 45:1 ratio of students to classrooms.

But in the first year, CRS still maintains two sections for Occupational Therapy (OT), three sections for Physical Therapy (PT), and one section for Speech Therapy and Sports Science at up to 53 students each.

Improving the ranks

In the College of Architecture, Dean John Joseph Fernandez said the population has been consistent since 2007.

“Every year, almost 2,000 students apply for our college, but we only take in 480 to 550,” he said.

Fernandez said Architecture has also devised a system to manage the student population.

“We initiated a system three years ago which heightened the cut-off rate as they (students) go up the program, meaning freshmen were being filtered and those who stay need to sustain good grades,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Faculty of Engineering makes sure its facilities can accommodate enough students by evaluating regularly the number of freshmen to be admitted every year.

“A committee comes up with a study that shows how to maximize the resources of the building,” Dean Josefin de Alban said. “This school year, we had to have Monday to Saturday classes.”

“When the computer courses were first transferred here from the College of Science, they only had one section per level,” Alban said. “But the demand for computer courses rose and now we accept four to five sections in the first-year level.”

De Alban noted that while the college has been accepting 2,000 freshmen annually in the past five years, only 700 to 800 graduate.


  1. I totally agree with that! there are TOO MUCH students in UST and we’re all cramped up in one tiny classroom wherein the chairs are exactly right beside each other touching on both sides… And besides that, the rooms are divided by thin plastic room dividers that you can HEAR the OTHER CLASS beside yours… especially when they’re noisy… there’s too much NOISE POLLUTION inside the classroom.. Seriously, we’re 50 in our class and everyone is so noisy… It’s NOT a conductive place to study.. I LITERALLY feel like im in a MARKET everyday… “PALENGKE ang mga classroom”– full of chaos and everyone’s just so noisy…

    I think it’s because UST accepts too much students and even INCREASES it every year…
    Doesn’t UST care about the QUALITY rather than QUANTITY? or do they just want more money? well, everybody does.. so dont deny it.. according to the other article… every year UST INCREASES the acceptance of the freshman applicants and INCREASES TUITION as well…

    And if the reason behind the increase of students every year is because there is a great increase in applicants, WELL, YOU CANT JUST ACCEPT EVERYONE AND COMPENSATE THE QUALITY OF LIFE OF THE STUDENTS… YOU CANT PLEASE EVERYONE… AND THE STUDENTS SHOULD DESERVE TO GET THE PROPER QUALITY OF EDUCATION AND ENVIRONMENT THEY’VE PAID FOR… I just do not see that QUALITY YET… So I’m really hoping for an improvement..

    (it’s always been a known fact that a proper college class should consist at least just 30 students or less… UST is way beyond that mark.. UST doesnt have a good student to teacher ratio… which is honestly bad..

    (An Unrelated Side Note)
    Besides the classrooms… UST is just so conservative… I know, it’s been here for 400 years… but it doesnt mean we ALWAYS HAVE TO STAY THE SAME… If we always stay the same then there WILL BE NO CHANGE, hence NO PROGRESS… It’s too TRADITIONAL and too UPTIGHT… The education system doesn’t teach students to INDEPENDENTLY THINK ON THEIR OWN.. but to PASSIVELY ACCEPT THE FACTS as if they are the rules… We need more creativity, a little freedom.. And according to UST’s vision statement.. “…FAITHFUL TO HER CENTURIES-OLD TRADITION of excellence…” excellence??? what kind of excellence? THINGS CHANGE, we NEED TO ADAPT TO THAT CHANGE.. if we’re just going to CLING TO CENTURIES-OLD TRADITION.. then what will happen? others will just pass us by.. they’re running.. we’re crawling.. CHANGE IS YOUR FRIEND.. EMBRACE IT… Sure, TRADITION keeps everything in order, but things in order do not always mean that everything is right. Sometimes tradition is just an EXCUSE for LAZINESS to CHANGE THINGS FOR THE BETTER.

    And the block sections are stupid… I want to meet other people!!!! (I know there are organizations, but it’s still different… organizations are just extra-curricular activities and NOT everyone has the time for those things..) So you expect me to stay in one class for the rest of my college life???? when there are SO MANY OTHER STUDENTS for me to become classmates with!!! (right? cause UST accepts SO MANY STUDENTS) isnt the purpose for that is to meet them and be friends with them at least???? And now, UST is holding each class in PRISON… Too much things in order.. what’s the problem of changing sections? too much work because there are too much students? (just LAZY?) UST has already too much unnecessary rules and regulations.. it’s suffocating.. and even from your class schedules to your subjects.. UST picks them for you… at least give us some compensation to be FREE…

    Im just saying.. UST CONTROLS everything for you… YOU DONT REALLY HAVE THE CHANCE TO CHOOSE FOR YOURSELF.. TO CHOOSE WHAT YOU WANT AND WHAT YOU THINK IS RIGHT FOR YOU… UST chooses everything.. no sense of freedom.. they even choose the RELIGION you’re going to study… (i know it’s a Catholic school and all, but it’s unfair for those who are NOT Catholic).. we need to be OPEN to the fact that everyone’s NOT CATHOLIC… and it’s like Theology class is like a commercial who sells you the religions and tells you that Roman Catholic is better.. (my Theo teacher was like this.. and my friend who’s not a Catholic felt DISCRIMINATION) And where are these PRINCIPLES of MORALITY now???? even the faculty do not even show it (ESPECIALLY a THEOLOGY TEACHER, which is expected)… so we’re all just hypocrites now… really..

    And UST speaks of molding students to be moral and good.. but Theology teaches us mostly on THEORETICAL stuff.. not much in spirituality… or lessons that I’m really going to use in my life… tooo ACADEMIC.. it’s just an unnecessary load in my courses.. just that.. but nothing special… UST needs to teach the ESSENTIAL THINGS… TEACH US WHAT WE’RE ACTUALLY GOING TO USE IN LIFE.. all the subjects are all SUPER THEORETICAL, even LOGIC and psychology are all PURE MEMORIZATION of the RULES AND FACTS… when i thought they’re going to be fun… 🙁 Im just wasting my time.. my precious time, IM NEVER GOING TO GET BACK studying STUPID STUPID UNNECESSARY THINGS… they’re just for stalling! and just to boast that UST has so much UNITS… yeahh units that you’re not really going to need.. ever.. its a joke. and im very disappointed with my education.. we are taught everyday to follow the rules… not to be creative… to memorize like maniac robotic people… to be hypocrites (like my theo teacher) to be UNpractical… to just be PASSIVE even if you know there’s something wrong… to be afraid of authority, even if they’re not right all the time… and many other things.. etc.. Im just really really disappointed… really.. really disappointed and it makes me really depressed to be stuck here feeling like that… it makes me feel like dropping out… even just transfer schools… 🙁 🙁 🙁 🙁

    Im not bad mouthing UST or anything.. Im just being OBJECTIVE.. Im a Thomasian and we cant be biased all the time just because we study in UST… We need to accept some things are just WRONG and as long as we RECOGNIZE that, things can get better… (hopefully).. At least I WANT THEM TO BE BETTER… And I hope others will too as well..

    You only see what you want to see.. OPEN YOUR EYES.. and you will see the TRUTH…

    • I am in total agreement with your assessment of UST. I, too, am a Tomasian (Sto. Tomas, right? Not Sto. Thomas) who graduated in the mid 60’s. I griped about the same things that you are. As a matter of fact in theology class one day I objected and argued that what was being taught was archaic and did not apply to modern times. I was a senior medical student then and I was sick and tired of the proselytizing and hypocrisy. Guess what? I failed the course and had to repeat it in order to graduate. Don’t expect to get a liberal education at UST; rather, expect to be brain-washed.

  2. You’re being OBJECTIVE? I don’t think so.

    If you don’t want UST to control everything for you, then get out. You study in a private catholic university, and not just a catholic university but the Catholic University of the Philippines. If you think you can’t abide by its rules and accept its “centuries-old tradition of excellence”, then transfer to a different university that will suit your needs.

  3. To you “dissatified student”. You have so plenty of bitterness at the UST. All the while i thought that your concern is regarding the overpopulation of students in the university. Then all of a sudden, your already bashing the rules, regulations and what not of the university. You even aimed at the theology subjects, spewing venom as if this is the root cause of all evil. Come on man! We’re both Thomasians here! I for one have some issues with the way our university officials run things. But if i may differ with your statement that: “UST CONTROLS everything for you!” and that… “YOU DONT REALLY HAVE THE CHANCE TO CHOOSE FOR YOURSELF.. TO CHOOSE WHAT YOU WANT AND WHAT YOU THINK IS RIGHT FOR YOU!” You’re totally WRONG my dear friend. We are the one who shapes our future. UST didn’t force you to study at their university. UST didin’t force you to ernoll to them. As a student, UST didin’t force you to stay. Why are you still studying at UST if you don’t accept their system of education? You have a CHOICE to LEAVE my friend. Don’t tell me that UST begged you not to leave them. I repeat myself, YOU HAVE A CHOICE. If it’s too late for that, then let me tell you that YOU HAD A CHOICE! If that’s your attitude, then may the good Lord bless you! What are you waiting for? Transfer now to a University that would easily bow down to your demands. (if you can find one. goodluck)! This is not the right avenue for you to air your dissatisfaction. We have the proper venues (swdb, student council, regents, admins) in which you could air your sentiments. Have you tried to approach them to share your offensive sentiments? Oh well, i can’t wait to see you go “dissatisfied student”. The University doesn’t need arrogant and cocky students like you. Goodluck on your school hoping. And should you find a school that would accept your character trait, then i would wish that school GOODLUCK also! Cheers to you dissatisfied student!!!

    • I was wondering how you can say to the “dissatisfied student” like, “You have a choice to leave.” It’s like telling to a “dissatisfied buyer” like “You can always stop paying” when he’s already halfway done to secure his “supposedly wonderful but not really that good” property(i.e condo unit, car, land). My friend, this “dissatisfied student” only states the fact (yes, he stated opinions as well) that there are this kinda things that makes other students lose incentive to study harder. I agree that everyone deserves a good quality of education and environment they’ve paid for. You can’t just tell him to “leave” and avoid the more important/BIGGER issues here. wake up.

  4. A comment from a single student doesn’t reflect to all.

    I’m a graduate of this GREAT university and I’m proud of it. about overcrowding in classrooms, I don’t think its a major problem of UST. To regulate the student acceptance should be consider I believe since there are Thomasian freshmen who doesn’t really want to be in UST since they failed there preferred schools.

    Ako, I never consider other schools in fact I only took USTET and thats it. I hope UST will only accept sincere applicants so that yung mga tulad ni “dissatisfied student” ay mabawasan.

    Sa mga aspiring student ng UST, hindi po kailangan ng UST ng maarteng student.

  5. hindi ko alam kung talagang sinasadyang maliin yung grammar o talagang hindi marunong magenglish para mapulaan lalo ang UST.

    Guys, if you really want to bash UST, try harder.

    e parang PEx lang ito eh, mga nagpapapangap na taga UST, kesyo student ng Med Tech etc.

    Walang problem sa pagbibigay ng comment but please sa Pinoy Exchange na lang kayo magkalat, ispare niyo itong site na ito. galit na galit kayo sa UST but punta naman kayo ng punta sa mga UST websites,

    napakadaling sabihin na student at graduate ng UST but MAHIRAP panindigan.

    basta ang alam ko, wala akong naging problema sa UST education ko dahil lahat ng naging professor ko ay open minded at matalino. yun lang.

  6. Kawawa naman yung ibang tao na mahilig mag generalize ng mga bagay bagay, ang experience ng isa ay hindi kailanman reflection ng kabuuan, its like saying na, if a certain Filipino ay nahuli drug addict sa ibang bansa eh dapat ng sabihin na lahat ng Filipino ay drug addict. UNFAIR YUN.

    In my five years of stay in UST, I’m proud of my college education. Hindi ko pinagsisihan ang pagpili sa UST for my college education. By the way, I’m a Civil Engineering graduate from the Faculty of Engineering. With regards to the Professors, I have nothing against them, they are leaders in their field, very knowledgeable. As if they are walking encyclopedias in campus. As for my Theology and other general education subjects, they are fine with me. I don’t think hindi siya relevant. I love my Theology profs, they’re inspiration to me to become a morally upright citizen. Out classes in Theology is like a mini retreat inside a classroom. I must admit, before college, I don’t go to church weekly but during my stay in UST, I can say that I hear mass at least twice a week (at hindi siya sapilitan)

    Thank you UST for making me a God fearing Civil Engineer. regards to Prof. Lourdes Corpuz, my sociology professor and to Prof Josefin de Alban, Jr. Thank you po for inspiring us to become better professionals, your teaching styles are way beyond the four corners of the classroom.

    If there’s one thing that UST should improve, upgrading the facilities and regulate the number of students per class. Other than that, UST is almost perfect for me.

    If you have personal bad experience with a certain professor, don’t generalize the whole faculty of UST. There are over 2,000 Professors in UST and you can’t expect them to have the same teaching styles. Expect a good class if your professor is on their late 20’s to early 40’s. They have a youthful style of teaching, very out of the box. unlike those old professors wherein their teaching styles are very traditional.

    Nevertheless, these are just minor problems and for sure UST is always trying their best to improve its academic performance 400 years and beyond.

    Congrats UST!!! 400 years of providing quality education to all kinds of people in the Philippines.


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