Last July, the Office of the University Registrar (OUR) announced that Special Adjustment passes that allowed students to enroll into classes during the first two days of the term was to be discontinued effective Term 1, AY 2018-2019.
In place of this, regular adjustment was extended to last until the first week of Term 2, AY 2018-2019. Students will be able to adjust until January 12, 2019 and will be available to all, regardless of unit load. Fees will also no longer be charged for adjustment.
In an inquiry held by the Legislative Assembly (LA) last August, it was revealed by then head of the Office of the Vice President for Internal Affairs (OVPIA) Brian Chen that the administration has decided to remove the special adjustment pass early in the year as preceded by an official public announcement in July. Then College of Liberal Arts (CLA) College President Aya Watanabe, Ramon V. del Rosario College of Business College President Igi Natanauan, and Br. Andrew Gonzalez FSC College of Education College President Alex Penales who were called to the meeting also confirmed that information was relayed late.
During the inquiry, Chen compared the issue with the change in U-break, and confessed that the University Student Government (USG) failed to exert full effort in the case of special adjustment, and highlighted the difficulty of arguing with several administrative figures, “‘Yun siguro ‘yung hindi natin nagawa as USG, na hindi na tayo umakyat to that stage or point, unlike how we did it in U- Break.”
(That’s probably what we failed to do as USG, that we didn’t reach that stage, unlike how we did in U Break.)
Rationale behind removal
Before its removal, there were two kinds of adjustment with regard to enrollment, regular and special. Regular adjustment can be availed by students who have below 15 units and by students who had a failure in any subject and wish to retake it the following term. On the other hand, special adjustment occurs during the first week of the following term and students who have availed of the special adjustment pass are granted the privilege to add classes. Those who have 15 units and above may also avail of the pass.
Unlike regular adjustment, special adjustment comes with a penalty fee of P2,000 and a late adjustment fee of P150. It was not permitted to avail of the special adjustment pass in consecutive terms, meaning that students who have used the special adjustment in Term 1 cannot avail of it again on Term 2 and must wait until Term 3 to avail it again.
At the time of the implementation, Chen was in position as head of OVPIA. Chen states that the OUR views special adjustment as a privilege that is often misused by students. It is a common practice in DLSU for students to not be present during the first week or first few weeks of the term. While there are many possible reasons for their absences, a common reason is the special adjustment period that students use, which leaves them unable to attend classes just yet due to the changes in their schedules. Chen explains that the Enrollment Council, composed of the Vice Deans of all colleges and headed by the OUR, believes that there is no need for special adjustment anymore once a student is above 15 units. “Kung baga, malapit na sila mapuno (course load) regardless of adjustment,” Chen says.
(In other words, they’re nearly full (course load) regardless of adjustment).
Common reasons for special adjustment are often to change professors, to get a better time slot, or to be with friends. These reasons leads the Enrollment Council to believe that special adjustment is a privilege that is “too much” for the students.
According to the University Registrar’s announcement, abolition of special adjustment was to help stabilize student enrollment before the start of the classes, and to maximize contact hours of students in their classes. Students who have added subjects through special adjustment would have already missed meetings.
Extension of regular adjustment
In response to the removal of special adjustment privileges, the USG sought a compromise with administration bodies, paving the way for the extension of regular adjustment. Current OVPIA head Adrian Mendoza explains that many students use special adjustment to gain their desired schedules despite the surcharge. “Even if there’s two thousand pesos surcharge for everybody, [there are] still so many people who had to apply. Because number one, they can’t be delayed, and number two, they need their classes.”
Mendoza highlights the role of the USG in lobbying administration figures student concerns, “The USG’s role overall in this is to really lobby it to the admin, and to really make sure that the admin knows what the students are going through. And this is actually the best compromise that they’ve come up with. At the end of the day, [people] need classes, and if they want classes, they end up adjusting.”
A possible problem that would have to be addressed by the removal are the cases in which a class is not yet offered at the time of enlistment, or there are changes in the major subjects of a course. Chen recommends that the student may go to the Academic Program Officer (APO) of their respective college in such situations. Upon bringing up their concern to the APO, they can help the student enlist in the class, free of charge. Mendoza also reminds that the retention fee still applies, and only partial refunds will be granted when dropping classes once the term starts.
Effects on students
The removal of special adjustment initially caused alarm to many students who depended on it. Enzo Panlilio (III, AB-CAM) used special adjustment a few times before as a solution to his enlistment problems. Panlilio, who is not a consistent Dean’s Lister, often has difficulty getting the classes he needs as other batches and those with early enlistment perks tend to fill up the classes quickly. While he uses regular adjustment when he is below 15 units, he still finds himself using special adjustment for some urgent classes he needs to take to graduate on time. He thinks that removing the special adjustment pass would put those like him in even more of a disadvantage than before.
Aaron Cu (IV, AB-ISE), a shiftee, had also used special adjustment to get classes, and is saddened with the news. “Students before who would be able to have a day or a week after grade consultation to fix their [schedules] would now not have that luxury. This could possibly delay their plans by a lot.” While he was happy with the extension of regular adjustment, he remains worried over the limited classes available, “Most of the time, after the first day alone, classes would already be closed.”
Mark Dolina (IV, BS-CHYB) takes special classes as part of his degree program and is always part of his worry during enlistment. “There are only a few classes offered by the College of Science, so I have to get a lot of them by petition. I can’t enlist in other subjects without having to take note of the schedules of the special classes, which is why I need more time to adjust my schedule.” He welcomes the removal of the related fees, citing that it is a financial burden. “We come from a not-so-rich background, and two thousand [pesos] can be quite a lot,” Dolina states.
The University Registrar declined to comment on the issue.