CLAC stands against tuition fee increase

The College of Liberal Arts and Communication Student Government (CLACSG) met with its respective program councils and block representatives, along with CLAC Associate Dean Evelyn Perez and CLAC House of Representatives members, on February 17, to gather the college’s stance on a proposed tuition fee increase (TFI) next academic year (AY) 2020-2021.  

This came into light following the commencement of the meetings with the Office of Student Services (OSS) and Vice Chancellor for Academics and Research (VCAR) on February 3 and the multi-sectoral discussion of the proposed increase on February 11.

The committee is headed by Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administrative Services (VCFAS) Deodoro Abiog II, CPA, and comprised of the Vice Chancellor for Academics and Research Dr. Marco Saez; Vice Chancellor for Mission, External Affairs and Advancement Dr. Myrna Ramos; among other administrators, and University Student Government (USG) representatives.

CLACSG Governor Charliemagne Asuncion relayed that a 5 percent increase will apply to upperclassmen next school year, while the 4.8 percent will apply to incoming freshmen due to the steady education inflation rate of 4.7 percent projected by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA). However, VCFAS Abiog told The HERALDO FILIPINO that there are no final figures as of press time following the committee’s second meeting on Wednesday, February 19.

Rise in insurance fees

Asuncion shared that one of the major reasons for the tuition hike is the proposed increase of student insurance to 122.2 percent. Prior to the proposed increase, each student was allotted P20,000 in insurance coverage from an insurance fee of P45 included in every student’s tuition.

“Last time, mayroon tayong football player na aksidente, Asuncion explained, “Mahigit sa P200,000 ang binayaran ng University and ‘yung money ay galing sa iba’t ibang fund.

The proposed increase in insurance from P45 to P100 could raise each student’s insurance coverage to P100,000 to P150,000.

Worker salaries

According to the administration, the TFI is also for the benefit of DLSU-D workers, which was criticized in the CLAC meeting.

It was mentioned in the CHED Memorandum Order (CMO) no. 3 series of 2012, “70 percent of the tuition fee increases shall go to the payment of salaries, wages, allowances, and other benefits.” 

Moreover, “20 percent of the TFI will fund the modernization of buildings, equipment, libraries, laboratories, gymnasia and similar facilities, and payment of other costs of operation.” The remaining 10 percent that is supposedly for the school’s income, is merged with the 20% for facilities and operations, as DLSU-D is a catholic constitution.   

In response to this news, a number of student leaders from CLAC questioned TFI, considering the workers’ wage and salary increase is a persistent issue every tuition fee hike. 

Masisigurado ba natin na tataas yung suweldo ng mga workers dito?” a block representative shared, after hearing that the workers only receive minimum wage.

It was then clarified on February 19 that the housekeeping staff are not under DLSU-D’s payroll but rather under an agency where they have yearly contracts. This means that the housekeeping staff do not benefit from workers’ raise.

Others also expressed their dissatisfaction on the unimproved state of facilities and the same pattern of reasons for increase through the years. 

Additional reasons behind TFI

‘Di raw kasi na-meet ‘yung quota for enrollees,” Asuncion said, explaining that the lack of enrollees this academic year left a gap in the financial capability of the University. However, the VCFAS said in the latest multi-sectoral meeting that no matter how low the number of enrollees are, it is not one of the reasons for TFI, contradicting what they previously confirmed to Asuncion.

There was also an appeal from the Council of Student Organizations (CSO) to increase its fund by returning each student’s CSO fee to its original P30 per student to fund student organizations’ projects. The colleges collectively agreed that this is not much of a problem after its mention in the first meeting. 

Asuncion asked the administration for the TFI breakdown of the workers’ salary during the first multi-sectoral meeting, but was denied due to the information being “confidential”. 

The multi-sectoral meeting last Wednesday also added the following reasons: an increase of P500 pesos to the Miscellaneous fees due to the instructional facilities and P1000 for students of Civic Welfare Training Service 2 (CWTS2) to lessen transportation expenses.

Call for transparency

As the CLACSG meeting concluded, the majority expressed their disapproval on the tuition fee increase. While, two individuals abstained while still waiting for more information regarding the increase. Altogether, they demand transparency from the admin, suggesting that a general assembly between the parents and administration be held.

On February 25, CLACSG released their statement through their Facebook page, firmly saying no to the supposed TOFI.

Student governments collect stances

Aside from the CLACSG holding a meeting between blocks and program councils, other college student governments have planned to disseminate information and gather the opinions of students regarding the TFI.

As of February 17, the College of Education Student Government (CoEDSG) has conducted a meeting with year representatives on February 12, to gather each student’s stances, while the College of Science and Computer Studies Student Government (CSCSSG) instructed block presidents to disseminate information regarding the proposed increase starting February 13. Whereas on February 18, the College of Engineering, Architecture and Technology Student Government (CEATSG) decided that they will not agree to the TFI until they see improvements in the services and facilities of the school. 

The next meeting between student government representatives and the administration  will be on February 26, Wednesday.

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