In fulfillment of the University’s mission to provide more opportunities to the underprivileged and the marginalized, the University Student Government’s (USG) Office of the Executive Treasurer (OTREAS) recently launched the 50/50 tuition instalment scheme.
Spearheaded by former USG Executive Treasurer Brian Chen, the project gives students the option to pay their tuition and fees with a 50 percent down payment prior to the start of the term, paying the other 50 percent within the academic year itself, subject to the University Accounting Office’s terms and conditions.
Behind the project
The program was initiated in fulfilment of the Accessible Lasallian Education platform of the USG. Current USG Executive Treasurer Rolf Villon emphasizes the USG’s plan to make Lasallian education more attainable to the students. “More than the convenience, we thought that implementing this new scheme would lighten the financial burden of some students come enrollment season,” he shares.
Moreover, the financial policy was also amended to accommodate students who are experiencing financial difficulties. “Being treasurer, I personally know people who treat what most may perceive as a small 10 percent, which probably is also around P6,000.00, so important,” he says.
The change on the installment mode of payment of tuition and fees was officially made effective last August as students enrolled for the first term of the 2017-2018 academic year. The Finance and Accounting Office, formerly adopting a 60-40 installment scheme, now adopts the USG’s 50-50. The Student Handbook for both Undergraduate and Graduate students has also been updated for these revisions.
This project was initiated and accomplished by the OTREAS of the previous academic year. However, OTREAS received essential support throughout the process as some members of the University’s administration were directly involved in the project. “Help was definitely reached out by our supervisors. Former Dean Amelia Galang, former SLIFE director and now Dean Nelca Villarin, University Controller Inores Palmes, and Senior Financial Consultant to the President Teresita Baes were the key to the success of this initiative,” Chen adds.
Challenges faced during approval process
Due to the effects of the “lean years” caused by the government’s implementation of the K to 12 curriculum, Chen expresses that one of their major concerns was the liquidity of money, or the availability of DLSU’s liquid assets. However, he explains that his office found a way to address the problem. “We banked on data, proving to them that the shift of students paying in full to paying in installment won’t be that radical to the point that the University wouldn’t be as liquid,” he explains.
On the other hand, Villon shares that “The most challenging part would have to be the scheduling of the meeting, [since] both parties had a hard time looking for a common time to sit down and review the proposal.” During this process, he mentioned that getting the administration to understand the need and the importance of this proposal proved to be another challenge that their team had to overcome.
A number of students immediately availed of the 50-50 installment mode of tuition and fees payment, and some shared their views and opinions.
Abigail Batan (III, AB-CAM) admitted that the change was beneficial to her. “It isn’t easy to acquire that much money to spend in one transaction. With the first installment being reduced to 50 percent, it then becomes easier to get that amount since it is lower,” she shares. She also comments on how there is enough time to pay the second half of the installment. “The additional 10 percent on the second installment would be better since it isn’t really needed until later in the term,” she adds.
For Patricia Cancio (III, AB-CAM), the change from 60-40 to 50-50 might seem small, but it is actually a big change for those who pay in installment such as herself. She elaborated, “It benefits me because the first payment is smaller, lighter (on the wallet), and afterwards, we can save up for different investments aside from my tuition fee.”