THE ADMINISTRATION has defended the P42-per-unit tuition hike next academic year, saying the “minimal” increase is needed to prevent faculty members and even librarians from being “pirated” by other universities.

Assistant Treasurer Leonardo Syjuco said the 3.5-percent increase was necessary to raise the salaries of University employees to meet the “rising cost of living.”

“Faculty members, support staff, and officials are expecting that there would be [an] increase in their salaries every year,” Syjuco told the Varsitarian. “Let’s suppose that there would be no tuition increase. Saan manggagaling ‘yung ibibigay sa kanila?”

He claimed that many faculty members, and even librarians and support staff, are being lured by other universities that pay higher wages.

By law, 70 percent of tuition increases must go to salaries of University employees, while the rest may be used for the improvement and maintenance of facilities, and to cover increases in the costs of goods and services.

This year’s tuition increase was lower than the projected three- to five-percent inflation rate, or the increase in the prices of consumer goods. The Commission on Higher Education (Ched), meanwhile, had approved tuition hikes of colleges and universities ranging from 10 to 15 percent.

Syjuco said it was still possible for the University to get by as long as the number of enrollees is kept within the range of last year’s 44,842.

Syjuco said the “minimal” tuition increase in UST would also result in a “minimal salary increase” for University employees.

Assistant Comptroller Marissa Gonzales told the Varsitarian that the administration initially proposed a six-percent tuition hike, but settled for 3.5 percent following consultations with student representatives.

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Miscellaneous fees, however, were not included in the consultation. Under Ched rules, schools are not required to hold consultations for miscellaneous fees.

Increases in the proposed schedule of fees released by the Office of the Vice Rector for Finance last Jan. 30 were unchanged.

Central Student Council (CSC) President Lorraine Taguiam said the student body initially appealed for a zero-percent increase during the consultation to neutralize the University’s “stricter policies” on promissory notes.

She said the University agreed to issue promissory notes on a “case-to-case basis,” provided that these are endorsed by the deans of their respective academic units.

The six-percent interest on unpaid tuition will also be enforced this school year to fund administrative charges for unpaid accounts, Taguiam said.

She added that since the Quadricentennial celebration is over, the P400 cultural fee last year was cut by 50 percent to P200 for first-year students, and 75 percent to P100 for those in the higher years. It would be used to finance annual rites such as the Paskuhan, Freshmen Walk, and Baccalaureate Mass. The P150 Varsitarian fee was retained.

The tuition consultation last Feb. 14 was attended by Vice Rector for Finance Fr. Manuel Roux, O.P., Assistant to the Rector for Planning and Quality Management Fr. Arthur Dingel, O.P., deans of faculties and colleges, and student council presidents.

Also in attendance were representatives from the Treasurer’s Office, Office for Administration, Office of the Vice Rector for Academic Affairs and Research, Samahan ng Manggagawa ng UST, UST Faculty Union, UST Alumni Association, and the Central Student Council. D. J. Magturo

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