Last January 17, the University Student Government (USG) Office of the Executive Treasurer conducted a focus group discussion (FGD) with students from various colleges at Faculty Center Conference Room 2C to discuss the students’ concerns, insights, and suggestions with regard to the tuition fee increase (TFI).
The discussion focused on the students’ assessment of DLSU’s facilities, campus services, quality of teaching, and how these aspects impact their perspective on the TFI. The most common concern raised by students is the University’s lack of focus in improving the basic needs and services for students, which range from internet connectivity, campus sanitation, lab equipment, and enrollment system, among many others.
Although DLSU has dedicated funds on research, renovations, and general campus development, in the long run, the basic needs and services are overlooked. One point raised by a communication arts student is that there is typically a lack of available equipment during times that they need to borrow one for their production courses.
“I understand why lab classes are expensive, and when there are damaged equipment the school can easily replace that, but they could be doing more with the amount of money we’re giving them,” an engineering student expressed. Other students have also cited how the lab equipment in their classes are not at par with their expectations, and that the professors handling these lab classes only make it more difficult.
On a positive note, some students attest that they can feel and experience the benefits of the TFI. One student pointed out how having free access on certain resources such as journal articles and online databases has been helpful to her research subjects.
Another student cites how the tuition fee is efficiently being allocated in several initiatives of DLSU including research and facilities. In terms of research, he explains that with the many research centers in DLSU, the funds are spent in different research projects, both internal and external to DLSU. DLSU also heavily invests on campus facilities such as the remodeling of South Gate, Br. Connon Hall, as well as the development of the Laguna Campus.
Lack of student engagement was one of the major concerns that was brought up during the discussion. Unlike other issues in the University, the TFI is a matter that many students are either indifferent to or unaware of. At the moment, the USG has done certain initiatives in order to reach students, such as publishing both online and ground surveys and holding FGDs. Establishing a booth that will present data to answer queries of students was also recently proposed.
On the other hand, the students think that boosting online presence will be an effective strategy through posting infographics on the history of TFI. Social media posts containing an explanation of the tuition fee breakdown were also suggested. “I think that if there’s more transparency, students will be able to realize the benefits that they can actually get and I think it’s important so that they will feel the effects of the tuition fee increase,” one student highlights.
Meanwhile, the USG is currently conducting a survey on the TFI which began in January 2 and will be closed by January 19. The results of the survey will be used to create a proposal that will be submitted to the University’s Consultative Committee on Tuition and Other Fees Increase. Under this committee, all matters pertaining to the tuition fee next academic year are discussed.