Feb. 20, 2015, 11:35 p.m. – THE CENTRAL Student Council
(CSC) and the Central Board of students rejected the proposed five- to
eight-percent tuition increase during a consultation with University
administrators Friday.

Faculty of Civil Law Student Council President and Central
Board speaker Victor Villanueva vowed to prevent the implementation of the
proposed tuition increase, which he said was 
unjustifiable.

“Our objections will not end today. If the administration
pushes through with the proposed increases, which we think are largely
unjustified, we will continue to assert our objections,” he said.

Villanueva said thousands of Thomasians had expressed their
dismay regarding the proposed tuition hike, particularly on social media site
Twitter by using the hashtag “#AyokongMagmahal,” which became a top
trending topic in the Philippines on Feb. 19.

“It is in the best interest of the students that the
University continues its operations [but] we assert that the University can
continue to maintain its operations with the present rate of tuition,”
Villanueva said.

Arts and Letters Student Council President Marie Jann Lazo
said the CSC, with the support of local student council presidents, won’t sign
the documents needed to implement an increase in school fees without agreeing
on a bargain with the administration.

The proposed increases for academic year 2015-2016 amount to
P67 per unit for first-year students, P100 per unit for second-year students,
P101 per unit for third-year students, and P64 per unit for fourth- and
fifth-year students.

According to Christine Nicolas, officer-in-charge of the
Office of the Internal Auditor, P47 out of the P67 increase for first-year
students would go to the salaries and benefits of University personnel.

READ
UST proposes 5-8 percent tuition hike

Renovations done in the University this academic year, such
as lecture room conversions, upgrading of offices and comfort rooms, and installation
of closed-circuit television cameras around the campus are some of the
administration’s justifications for the proposed fee increases for the next
academic year.

Last academic year, tuition increased by 2.5 percent or
P31.23 per unit for second- to fifth-year students. Tuition increased by 3.5
and three percent in 2012 and 2011, respectively.

Under Section 42 of the Education Act of 1982, “each private
school shall determine its rate of tuition and other school fees or charges…
subject to rules and regulations promulgated…”

By law, 70 percent of the increases must go to the payment
of salaries, wages, allowances and other benefits of teaching and non-teaching
personnel; and 20 percent to the improvement or modernization of buildings,
equipment, libraries, laboratories and similar facilities, and  payment for other operational costs. The
remaining 10 percent represents return on investment for higher education
institutions that are stock corporations, or must be used for operations
otherwise.

The date of the next consultation between the Vice Rector
for Finance and the student council has yet to be set. Dayanara T. Cudal

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