Out of 1,009 respondents surveyed by the University Student Government (USG) Office of the Executive Treasurer (OTREAS) regarding the tuition fee increase (TFI), 51.7 percent claimed that they were in favor of such an increase. The survey was conducted from October to December 2016. It can be noted that, most recently, the University has been concerned with cushioning the impacts of various financial strains brought about by a drop in freshmen enrollees following the implementation of K-12.
Currently, the Multi-Sectoral Committee on Student Fees (MSCSF) is conducting a series of consultations with different sectors of the Lasallian community to discuss the TFI for next academic year (AY). The MSCSF is composed of representatives from the administration, student body, parents’ organization, and faculty and employee associations. Each sector is required to submit a TFI proposal to the committee.
Based on the proposals, the committee will then, upon deliberation, come up with a favorable percentage of the TFI to be submitted to DLSU’s Board of Trustees (BOT), which ultimately decides on the percentage to be implemented for the following AY.
Students on the upcoming TFI
Of the respondents surveyed by the USG OTREAS, 56.8 percent indicated that their tuition fee was commensurate to the quality of education they are receiving, while 43.4 percent claimed the opposite. These sentiments were based on the students’ general satisfaction with the University’s quality of professors, facilities, and safety.
Meanwhile, most respondents believed that important in deciding the TFI are factors including the salary of professors, administrators, and personnel; overall campus development; and utilities expense. Most, however, do not believe that the integration with the DLSU-Science and Technology Complex (STC), development of DLSU College of Law, introduction of the DLSU Senior High School, and establishment of commercial entities on campus should be important factors in deciding the TFI.
The respondents also suggested that security measures, enrollment concerns, parking concerns, health services, student services, scholarships, and out-of-school learning, among others, should be considered for the TFI.
In terms of a favorable tuition fee percentage, 24.5 percent of the students opted for one percent, 20.1 percent for three percent, 5.6 percent for five percent, and 1.6 percent for ten percent. The remaining 48.3 percent, reportedly not in favor of an increase, claimed not to feel or see the changes in the University brought by the TFI.
To sustain or even decrease the tuition fee, the students suggested different actions such as fundraising, conserving water, cutting down on unnecessary events, finding new investors, getting more energy-efficient equipment, maximizing classroom use, recycling, reevaluating special and miscellaneous fees, removing general subjects not relevant to a student’s program, upgrading lights to LED, and using new technology like solar panels.
A look at TFI in recent years
In AY 2012-2013, there was a 3.5 percent increase due to salary increases for faculty and employees and improvement of facilities in DLSU. The salary increases were mainly due to the scarce number of faculty and employees at the time. Notably, the Henry Sy Sr. Hall was constructed during this AY. Costs for the building totaled to around P1.4 billion, P300 million of which was donated by Henry Sy Sr. to jumpstart the construction.
In AY 2013-2014, there was a four percent increase for freshmen, and a five percent increase for upperclassmen. This was due to the integration with STC, buffering of the impacts of the K-12 program, and across-the-board salary increases for faculty and employees.
In AY 2014-2015, there was a five percent increase due to the construction of DLSU-STC’s Hangar and Green Room, leasing for the DLSU Law School, and continuing to buffer the effects of the K-12 program. During this time, the University was undergoing extensive preparations to combat the imminent long-term impacts of the K-12 program.
In AY 2015-2016, there was a four percent increase in line with the inflation rate and another across-the-board salary increase for faculty and employees. It was also during this year that several consultations were held to discuss possible solutions for the impact of the K-12 program. One of which that was approved and currently ongoing is the offering of Senior High School in DLSU.
Lastly, by AY 2016-2017, there was a 4.8 percent increase in order to combat the effects of the K-12 program head-on, as well as continue to provide across-the-board salary increase for faculty and employees.
Evidently, for the past years since 2012, the looming and eventual impacts of the K-12 program has continuously challenged the University financially and operationally.
In an article by The LaSallian last November 2016, DLSU President Br. Raymundo Suplido FSC forecasted that the effects of the drop in freshmen for AY 2016-2017 and AY 2017-2018 due to the program may linger until AY 2021-2022. In other private colleges, the same issues are being experienced. In June last year, the Commission on Higher Education approved the TFI in around 304 colleges nationwide, with an average increase of 5.1 percent for tuition fees and 5.41 percent in other school fees.