LESS than a year before the K to 12 education reform goes full swing, UST saw a slight decline in freshman enrollment, data from the Office of the Registrar showed.

A total of 13,615 freshmen were admitted in the first term of this academic year, down by nearly one percent or 115 enrollees from last year’s 13,730.

The UST-Alfredo M. Velayo College of Accountancy recorded the biggest drop in freshman enrollees at 18.28 percent, or a decline of 876 students from last year’s 1,072.

“We accepted 24 classes last academic year so that means we have fully utilized the classrooms. So we cannot accept more than this number [of students],” Accountancy Dean Patricia Empleo said in an interview.

The Conservatory of Music’s freshman admission jumped to 391 from last year’s 236, or 65.7 percent—the biggest increase among the colleges.

The Faculty of Arts and Letters took in the most number of freshmen with 1,438 students, up from last year’s 1,383. The Faculty of Pharmacy followed with 1,178 enrollees, up from 948 last year.

“It’s a good strategy to take a buffer for the decreased number of freshmen for the next academic year … we will be opening [more slots] for Medical Technology and Pharmacy programs, but still not as much as the number of sections that we have for this academic year,” Pharmacy Dean Aleth Therese Dacanay said.

Other colleges that recorded an increase in freshman admission were the Faculty of Sacred Theology; the Colleges of Nursing, Rehabilitation Sciences, Science, Tourism and Hospitality Management; and the Institute of Physical Education and Athletics.

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The pioneer batch of the Institute of Information and Computing Science had 765 enrollees.

The Faculties of Philosophy and Canon Law; the Colleges of Architecture, Commerce and Business Administration, Education, Fine Arts and Design; and the Graduate School saw declines in freshman admission.

The total student population of UST meanwhile inched up by 2.2 percent to 44,791 students, from last year’s 43,818.

Vice Rector for Academic Affairs Clarita Carillo said the decision to admit freshmen lies with the colleges.

“The decision on the enrollment of freshmen and how many sections to open and how many [students] to admit lies with the dean and faculty council,” Carillo told the Varsitarian.

Secretary General Fr. Winston Cabading, O.P. for his part said: “It is important to note that fluctuations in the number of enrollees per year are expected as the number of available slots change every application year.”

This is the last academic year before the K to 12 program is fully implemented. Instead of graduating to college next year, fourth-year high school students will enroll in Grade 11.

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