After several years of planning, the Multi-Sectoral Committee on Student Fees (MSCSF) or Tuition Fee Board has announced that starting academic year 2016-2017, DLSU will be implementing its own Tuition Bracketing System (TBS), a system akin to the University of the Philippines’ Socialized Tuition System (UP STS).
DLSU President Br. Ray Suplido FSC expresses his optimism over the newly approved policy, declaring it as a milestone in DLSU’s history.
“Our mission as an institution has always been to reach out to the poorest of the poor in society,” he shares. “This is a significant step towards that goal. By this policy, we will be able to reach out to more impoverished members of society.”
Like UP’s STS, the University’s TBS will use a student’s family income bracket as a guide for imposing matriculation and fees, organized from Brackets 1 to 5.
The Tuition Bracketing System
Bracket 1 will be for families earning P500,000 and above per year. Students under this bracket will receive no tuition discount. Bracket 2 will pose a 33 percent discount per unit, and is for families earning above P250,000 and below P500,000 per year. Bracket 3 will have a 60 percent discount per unit, and will be given to families earning P70,000 to below P250,000 annually. Bracket 4 boasts an 80 percent discount per unit, granted to families earning P30,000 to below P70,000 yearly. The last bracket, Bracket 5, offered to families earning below PHP30,000, annually places the student in full scholarship.
Students belonging to Bracket 5 will not only be given free tuition, but they will also enjoy free miscellaneous and laboratory fees. A monthly stipend may be petitioned for from the University Board.
According to Vice Chancellor for Academics Dr. Robert Roleda, the shift to a bracketing system is a good move in order to entice more students to enroll in the University. “The academic calendar shift was already a good way of getting more people to want to enroll in DLSU. However, such a shift imposes a great tuition increase. The Tuition Bracketing System will be implemented to remedy this problem,” explains Dr. Roleda.
Dr. Roleda reports that this year, the MSCSF had agreed on a very high increase on the tuition fee in response to various factors, including the K-12 implementation and the calendar shift. The increase in the coming academic year is a whopping 10 percent, much larger than the average 5 percent that the University imposes every year.
He shares, “When we come up with the percent increase of tuition, we always make sure we take into consideration a variety of factors. We consult many experts when calculating the increase. Of course, we try to minimize it, but our analysis and studies show that this 10 percent was needed. So, to minimize this problem, we felt the need for a bracket system.”
Furthermore, he reasons that a tuition bracket will also help offset the deficit of students entering DLSU by helping students from various brackets access the University’s expensive education.
“We are preparing for the ‘lean years’,” Dr. Roleda explains. “For the next three years or so, we won’t be receiving a lot of students. Can you imagine? There will barely be any freshmen from 2016 to 2018. This system also helps us prepare for that.”
“The imposition of the TBS is a good move for the University,” he declares, explaining that using a bracketing system such as DLSU’s TBS will yield a high percentage increase, as high as 10 percent, which is higher than the average 5 percent yearly increase in recent years.
“Such a scheme would yield good results,” he further posits. “I estimate around 10 percent and even higher in the succeeding years,” he says.
The University Student Government (USG) has expressed support for the new scheme. USG Treasurer Zed Laqui expresses that the bracketing scheme will be instrumental in bringing quality Lasallian education to less fortunate but deserving students. “As we know, education in De La Salle is very expensive, which leads good and deserving candidates to shy away from the University as they cannot afford it here,” Laqui illustrates. “The TBS is a good way to bring accessible education to deserving students. A good candidate can afford Lasallian education despite a low income bracket. He or she may also even be awarded a monthly stipend. The USG supports this move as it bridges the gap between the less fortunate and the University’s mission to bring quality education to everyone.”
Furthermore, Laqui also shares that it is a step closer to the University’s and USG’s goal of arriving at 25 percent full scholarship equivalence (FSE) in the University.
“Our aim is to have a 25 percent scholarship population within the campus,” Laqui shares. “While [the TBS] is not an absolute achievement of that goal, it is a significant step towards it.”
When inquired about the change to a bracketing system, DLSU Parents of University Students Organization (PUSO) President Joy Fajardo says that, while the change may be beneficial to a lot of students’ families, it may be harmful to impose such a big change in a short span of time.
“It may be good, yes, as such a tuition margin would allow students appropriate matriculation according to their family’s yearly income. However, there is a possibility that it may be harmful rather than helpful,” warns Fajardo.
Quoting the flaws of UP’s own STS, Fajardo raises an issue of fairness in segregating students in appropriate brackets. “When UP moved to the new socialized tuition system, a lot of students were outraged as their university’s criteria found them in a higher bracket than they expected. A student that may have a hard time in Bracket 3 may be upgraded to Bracket 2, and it would be even harder for his or her family to adjust.” She suggests that further research must be made in order to create a successful move, as imposing a large shift would be detrimental to the University’s efforts to provide quality education for deserving students.
Meanwhile, Faculty Association President Dante Leoncini also shares that while he supports the tuition bracket and celebrates the fact that more students will be able to enroll at the University, he is concerned about its effects in the long run.
“This system will allow more students to enroll, and that is a very good thing,” he shares. “My only concern is whether we can handle these many students coming in at once. Not only will we have more freshmen, but also more high school students.”
He posits that there may be a need to to employ more teachers in order to offset the increase in students.
“There is no telling how many students exactly will be applying as a result of this policy,” Leoncini says. “Of course, the entrance exam has always been one way to control that number. But it is still generally variable, and we always want to accept as many as we can. So let’s hope we can get more teachers as well, if need be.”
The MSCSF will be holding a forum at the fourth floor of the Henry Sy. Sr Hall on May 12 to answer any further inquiries and to orient the community regarding the new tuition bracketing scheme and related policies.