NEXT academic year, tuition in UST will go up by P72 per unit—the highest increase in five years.

Under the proposed schedule of fees released by the Office of the Vice Rector for Finance last Jan. 30, tuition will amount to P1,279 per unit starting next semester, a six-percent increase from the previous P1,207 per unit. 

If approved, this will be the highest rate of increase since 2007, when tuition went up by 6.2 percent. In previous years, tuition increases were adjusted based on inflation.

Central Student Council (CSC) president Lorraine Taguiam said the UST administration sought a higher increase to compensate for the 1.8-percentage-point difference between last year’s inflation and the three to five percent inflation forecast of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas for the years 2011 and 2012 to 2014.

UST imposed only a three-percent hike to P1,207 per unit in the current academic year despite the 4.8-percent inflation last year, as shown by data from the National Statistics Office.

Taguiam said the CSC and the Central Board of Students sought a zero-percent increase during a consultation with the University tuition committee last Feb. 14, considering stricter enrollment policies implemented last October.

“Since this semester is the adjustment stage for students to cope with the new promissory note policy, we demanded no tuition increase for the next academic year to give ample time for students to pay their outstanding balances,” Taguiam said.

Last Oct. 7, a memorandum was issued by the Office of the Vice Rector for Finance banning the issuance of promissory notes and “pre-enrollment” forms, as well as the readmission of students with unpaid balances.

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But Fr. Rolando de la Rosa, O.P., Rector of UST, overturned the ban on promissory notes last Nov. 22 and allowed the admission of students under a “case-to-case basis.”

Still, the administration remained stern on the proposal for a six-percent increase to “address the improvements UST still has to initiate,” Taguiam said. At that point, CSC was prompted to bargain for a 3.5-percent tuition increase instead.

She said a higher rate would be warranted only if the mechanics and policies for the issuance of promissory notes next enrollment would be more lenient.

“I hope [promissory notes] would be made available to all students, not only to those with outstanding balances,” she said.

UST’s Economic Council will have the final say on the increase. By law, 70 percent of tuition increases must go to salary increases of University employees, while the rest may be used for facilities improvement and maintenance, as well as to cover increases in the cost of services and commodities.

Higher education institutions (HEIs) intending to raise tuition must conduct a consultation with student leaders, faculty, non-teaching personnel, and alumni associations, as provided by Commission on Higher Education (Ched) Memorandum Order (CMO) 13.

To ensure that the provisions are duly observed, a regional multi-sectoral committee composed of various agencies and organizations led by Ched goes to HEIs to monitor the implementation of tuition increases, Ched executive director Julito Vitriolo told the Varsitarian.

“If there are complaints, this committee likewise handles this complaint. They report it to the central office and they document any complaint and findings. We, in turn, are required to submit the report to Congress,” he said.

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Proposed rates

The administration is also proposing a six-percent increase in the laboratory tuition to P2,558 per unit from last year’s P2,414. Laboratory units apply to the faculties of Pharmacy and Engineering and the colleges of Nursing, Science, Rehabilitation Sciences, and Tourism and Hospitality Management.

The fee for the National Service Training Program will likewise have a six-percent increase— from P1,811 to P1,919.

In miscellaneous fees, the athletic fee for freshmen will go up to P1,500 from last year’s P1,250 under the proposal. For students in higher years, the fee remains at P1,250.

The library fee, meanwhile, will go up to P1,082 or four percent higher than last year’s P1,040. The cultural fee, which amounted to P400 last year and was intended to help finance Quadricentennial projects, will be cut by 50 percent to P200 for first-year students, and 75 percent to P100 for those in the higher years. Also, there will be a 28-percent hike on the student activity fee, which amounted to P175 last year.

Taguiam said the CSC was unable to inquire about the reasons for the increases in miscellaneous and other fees as administration officials said they are not “subject for consultation.”

The Varsitarian requested for an interview with Assistant Treasurer Leonardo Syjuco and with UST Comptroller Diomedes Yadao, but both declined to give any statement. Vice Rector for Finance Fr. Manuel Roux, O.P. has yet to respond to our interview requests.

According to Vitriolo, although the consultation for miscellaneous and other fees is not covered by CMO 13, another multi-sectoral committee is being formed to “regulate and rationalize miscellaneous fees, itemize them, enumerate and define what are prohibited or are dubious fees.”

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The members of the committee, which proposed the tuition increase, are Roux, Yadao, Syjuco, Assistant Comptroller Marissa Gonzales, Assistant to the Rector for Academic Affairs and Research Clarita Carillo, Assistant to the Rector for Administration Pilar Romero, University Registrar Cesar Velasco, and Assistant Treasurer Fr. Jose Ma. Tinoko, O.P. Rafael L. Antonio with reports from Nigel Bryant B. Evangelista

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