Feb. 27, 2015, 3:16 p.m. – STUDENT council presidents from several faculties and colleges of the University reaffirmed their objection to “any proposed increase in tuition and other fees,” in a statement released Thursday.

“This objection was clearly manifested by the student council presidents during the tuition consultation meeting last February 20, in the presence of several University administration officials,” the statement released on Facebook read.

Student leaders described the consultation as simply a formality to comply with the Commission on Higher Education’s Memorandum Order No. 8 s. 2012, wherein colleges or universities proposing an increase in school fees were required to conduct a consultation with students before Feb. 28.

“It was repeatedly said to us that what we were having was a ‘conversation’ as if to emphasize that the point was not to consult us or get our consent, but to convince us that the tuition increase is acceptable. We insist, it is not,” the statement read.

During the consultation, it was also disclosed that in Academic Year 2012-2013, UST collected at least P2.9 billion in tuition and nearly P650 million in other fees from students, almost P300 million from auxiliary services, and around P200 million from interest income and other sources. Deducting all expenses of the University, at least P900 million remain as surplus for each academic year.

Council officials said the administration had explained that the surplus money was meant to be used as “buffer funds” or “working capital” for contingencies.

The student leaders however argued that the amount was too much for a non-stock and non-profit educational institution like UST. “The bottom line is, the tuition increase is not necessary. Any increase is … exorbitant. Our primary consideration should always be the students, the most important sector of any institution of higher learning,” the statement said.

'Unity walk' against tuition hike 'unnecessary'—CSC

The statement was signed by student council presidents Victor Lorenzo Villanueva (Faculty of Civil Law), Erica Jaira Sanico (College of Commerce and Business Administration), Michelle Baluyot (Faculty of Medicine and Surgery), Jayvee Del Rosario (College of Accountancy), Juan Carlo Dela Paz (College of Education), Diana Angela Dela Victoria (College of Architecture), Carlo Martin Dequina, (College of Fine Arts and Design), Nielsen Ignacio, (Faculty of Engineering), Maria Jann Klaire Lazo (Faculty of Arts and Letters), and Mary Rose Luzande (Conservatory of Music).

In a previous interview, Lazo said the CSC and the local student council presidents would not sign the documents needed to implement an increase in school fees without agreeing on a bargain with the administration.

Last academic year, tuition increased by 2.5 percent or P31.23 per unit for second- to fifth-year students, while tuition increased by 3.5 and three percent in 2012 and 2011, respectively.
The date of the next consultation between the Vice Rector for Finance and the Central Student Council has yet to be set. Dayanara T. Cudal


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