Every term, undergraduate students pay P100 for the Social Action Fee, stipulated under “Special Fees” section of a student’s term assessment. This fund is allocated for use of the University’s Center for Social Concern and Action (COSCA). COSCA is the primary office responsible for DLSU’s community engagement efforts.
This article is part of The LaSallian’s series on DLSU’s tuition and fees.
Similar to other offices operating under DLSU, personnel from COSCA ensure that the office’s projects are in line with key resolve areas (KRA) emphasized by the University President in his strategic direction for every year. COSCA falls under KRA 5: Community that values talents and is socially relevant.
COSCA’s operations are extensive and are generally classified into three categories, namely, curriculum-based, co-curriculum-based, and internationalization. For curriculum-based activities, subjects that require students to render community service usually enlist the help of COSCA in the selection of partner communities. For co-curriculum-based activities, many student organizations also tap COSCA in fulfillment of their community service engagement. Many such organizations usually conduct outreach programs through the aid of COSCA. Moreover, COSCA’s third line of operations, internationalization, provides opportunities for foreign students coming from DLSU’s networks abroad to be deployed to different sites and partner communities to take part in DLSU’s community engagement programs.
However, a fourth line of operation is emerging, which is COSCA’s disaster preparedness and response unit. In times of calamities, COSCA remains at the forefront of DLSU’s efforts in heading relief operations.
The University Community Engagement and Development (UCED) Program, COSCA’s main community engagement arm, implements several projects to ensure that KRA 5 is met. Under KRA 5, UCED has pledged to commit to two main goals: First, to have each unit of the University conduct at least one sustainable community engagement project, and second, to contribute to the development of the nation and stewardship of creation.
The issue on K-12
Program Manager of the University Community Engagement and Development (UCED) Program Joseph Rosal laments that one of the issues currently being faced by COSCA is the K-12 program and, particularly, the adverse effect of having a low student turnout to their office’s yearly budget.
While much of the talks about the looming effects of K-12 have been primarily centered on the possible laying off of faculty members and revenues lost for the University, offices like COSCA, whose operations are generated through tuition and fees paid by students, will also be drastically affected by the implementation of K-12. DLSU is expected to fully bear the brunt of K-12 beginning next academic year, the start of “the lean years,” where a drop in freshmen admissions is anticipated.
“We rely so much on tuition fees,” shares Rosal, who explains that if less freshmen enroll next academic year, their funds coming in to their office “will be slashed drastically.” He explains that the strategic directions will not be modified, and their office’s expected percentage of output is carried over, even with the drastic change in funds to be utilized by COSCA.
“Alam naman natin, for practical purposes, lahat may cost,” Rosal explains. He adds, “Tatamaan ang Social Action Fund pagdating ng K-12, lalo na kapag bumaba ang student population, because we rely so much on funding from the tuition fees.”
He further shares that, while the office has been very prudent in the use of resources and doing its best to reflect KRA 5 in its projects, the problem remains. “Paano kung [bumaba] ang number of students mo, or ‘yung base ng resources na supposedly pumasok? How do we compensate for that?” he voices out.