University No tuition hike in AY 2021-2022, miscellaneous fees to rise
University No tuition hike in AY 2021-2022, miscellaneous fees to rise
No tuition hike in AY 2021-2022, miscellaneous fees to rise

What seemed like the impossible in previous years will soon become a reality. 

Starting Academic Year 2021-2022, University sectors have finally agreed to a zero percent tuition fee increase (TFI). Discussions and dialogue that persisted even after the finalization of the TFI last February spurred the University administration to make a pre-emptive decision. 

In his own words, DLSU Chancellor Br. Bernard Oca FSC says, “Since we cannot settle on a final amount, deciding on a zero percent increase might just finally solve all of the disputes regarding the amount of tuition to be paid.”

Undeniably, this move will mean the loss of one of DLSU’s greatest sources of revenue. But University sectors came prepared—instead of tuition fees, miscellaneous fees will cover future increases. “We’ll have to put food on the table somehow. Like barbecue and roast beef and cream puffs. Personal favorites,” says Oca.

New tuition scheme

The original TFI aimed to balance the need to raise the salary of University faculty and staff, as well as to keep education in the University “affordable for its students”.

Students pay a matriculation fee per term which consists of the tuition per unit, miscellaneous fees, laboratory fees, and any other fee used to accommodate the facilities provided by the University such as its elevators and wifi. Current miscellaneous fees include Trimestral Registration, Student Services, Athletics, AnimoSpace Fee, Student Materials and Forms, Medical and Dental Services, Library, Museum, Information and Communication, Energy Fee, Insurance, and Validation, which vary depending on the costs decided per year. For example, 119 students’ miscellaneous fees amounted to P7,817, while 117 students had to pay P6,817.

For future increases, Oca explains that new components will be added under the miscellaneous fees. These include the Subtle Tuition Increase, Subtle Added Dues, Subtle Tuition Dagdag, and Absolutely Not For An Expensive Teambuilding Fee.

The new miscellaneous charges will not be used for expenses like “expensive teambuilding activities”, says Oca. “It’s already in the title so that should allay suspicion—este, give students confidence that their money is in good hands,” explains the Chancellor.

Ayes and nays

Following the announcement of the tuition hike for AY 2020-2021, several students aired their complaints and called for the abolition of the increase. Bat Angmahal (I, BSA), who was among those who protested the move, expresses her frustration, “Hindi nila alam gaano ‘yun (tuition fee increase) kabigat para sa mga mag-aaral. Hindi talaga nila kami (students) pinakikinggan.

(They don’t know how heavy the tuition fee increase will be for students. They really do not listen to us students.)

Conversely, Prim Hume (IV, BS-IE) gives a differing response. “Well, as long as my parents are not too bothered naman, and I still get my P5,000 allowance per week,” he says, adding after a moment, “Oh, and gas money.”

In response to the allegations that the University administration does not consider students’ opinions, Oca says that the miscellaneous fee rise for AY 2021-2022 was exactly meant to appease students who were against the increase of tuition costs. 

He explains that a consultation with students was done through the inputs of the USG’s representative to the multisectoral committee that assesses DLSU’s fees. “With this, we did not need to hold a town-hall meeting with students anymore because we believe the [USG] was perfectly capable of relaying to us the sentiments of their constituents,” he states.

Conflicting compromise

Despite the administration’s firm stance on following the students’ needs, other sectors also questioned the move. DLSU-Parents of University Student Organizations (DLSU-PUSO) President Dr. Felicitas Ducusin deems the decision as “a self-defeating action”. “It’s quite useless, don’t you think? Para saan pa ang pagtanggal ng increase sa [babayaran] per unit? Parang laban o bawi lang. Laban-laban o bawi-bawi, laban-laban o bawi-bawi,” she lyrically expresses. 

(For what purpose is the cancellation of the increase [of the payable] per unit? It is like going back and forth.)

Rommel Billena, Association of Faculty and Educators of DLSU Inc. Vice President, relays the same sentiments. He relates that “it doesn’t actually solve anything. In fact, we will raise the matter in the next [teambuilding], I mean, conference to be held later this year.”

In response, Oca reiterates that their consultation was done with all the sectors of the University. “We had no choice but to find a compromise,” he said. Further, he justifies that the decision was reached after listening intently to the demands of the students since they are the ones directly affected. “When we make decisions, we always have our students in mind. We never reach a verdict without consulting the students first—never,” he asserts.

“In the past, we observed that students were always against tuition fee increases, so we had a brilliant idea to increase something else instead,” he explains. Oca says that the administration’s decision to remove the tuition fee increase “definitely met students’ demands”, but the action to inflate miscellaneous fees was something “necessary” for the University. “It’s a win-win situation,” he says.