Mar 232013
 

ASSERT OUR BEING THE UNIVERSITY OF THE ‘ISKOLAR NG BAYAN”

OPPOSE TUITION AND OTHER FEE INCREASES!

NO TO THE “NEW STFAP”

FIGHT FOR GREATER STATE SUBSIDY

December 11, 2006

ALL-UP ACADEMIC EMPLOYEES UNION

University of the Philippines

 

 

The Roman administration finally released to members of the BOR last November 30, 2006 [1] the Report of the Committee to Review the Socialized Tuition and Financial Assistance Program (STFAP). The committee, composed of Professors Edgardo Atanacio, Emmanuel F. Esguerra and Rene Felix, was formed after the submission in July 2006 of the de Dios committee’s recommendations to increase tuition and institute new fees. The completion of the STFAP review has been cited by President Roman as the requisite before the Board of Regents deliberate on and approves the proposed tuition fee increase. While the de Dios committee report has been widely circulated in the University, the Atanacio report in its entirety was only made public last December 8, 2006, two days after it was pointed out in the December 6 UP Diliman University Council that the UP Administration has not released to the public the STFAP Review Committee Report.

The UP BOR is set to meet on December 15, 2006 to decide on the tuition fee increase, a schedule which essentially preempts a wider and more informed discussion on the rationale and implications of the increase and the new STFAP proposal accompanying such increase. The timing of the meeting, which is the day of the annual Christmas lantern parade of UP Diliman and the day prior to the Christmas break of the students, smacks of ramming through the decision and avoiding strong uproar from UP students and from the public for such a decision. If the UP Administration pushes through with the UP BOR meeting to deliberate and decide on the tuition and other fee increase then it should open such deliberation to the public in the same manner that the public has the right to attend and listen to deliberations of the Congress on policy matters such as the CON-ASS.

The All-UP Academic Employees Union had previously come out with its opposition to the tuition fee and other fee increases recommended by the July 2006 de Dios committee report and a rejoinder to the de Dios committee’s response to the union’s critique of its report.[2] This paper focuses on the Atanacio committee report and more recent pronouncements of the Roman Administration.

The Atanacio Committee recommendations for a new STFAP Bracketing

The Atanacio committee essentially upheld the recommendation of the de Dios’ committee to increase tuition and to impose additional fees. The committee did not argue with the assumptions and arguments of the de Dios’ committee for its recommendations to increase tuition to as high as P1, 500 per unit, to increase library fee and to impose new fees (an internet fee of P260 per student in all campuses and an electricity fee of P425 per student in the three biggest constituent universities and P250 in the other units).

What the Atanacio committee contributes to the proposal to increase UP tuition and other fees is a slight adjustment in the income range of the new bracketing, a descending order of the new bracketing and numerous proposals to facilitate the administrative nightmare that a new bracketing would entail.

The STFAP review committee adopts the base tuition (pegged initially at P1, 000 and which will be “adjusted” annually) of the de Dios committee and proposes the following new STFAP bracketing:

Bracket

Annual Family Income

Fees/Benefits

Proposed fees

(Diliman, Los Banos and Manila)

Projected % of UP students who will fall in the bracket

A

More than P1 million

Full cost tuition fee (base x 1.5), full miscellaneous and lab fees

P1, 500 per unit, full miscellaneous and lab fees

4 to 5%

(de Dios committee)

The Esguerra committee places at 20% those who will fall under brackets A and B

B

P500,001 to P 1 million

Base tuition fee, full miscellaneous and lab fees

P1,000 per unit, full miscellaneous and lab fees

16% (de Dios committee

C

P135,001 to P500,000

40% discount on base tuition fee, full miscellaneous and lab fees

P600 per unit, full miscellaneous and lab fees

40%

D

P80,001 to P135,000

70% discount on base tuition fee, full miscellaneous and lab fees

P300 per unit full miscellaneous and lab fees

20%

E

Up to P80,000

Free tuition, miscellaneous and lab fees, standard stipend

20%

(de Dios proposal, 10% or 650 students for students with income of less than P36,000)

 The current STFAP bracketing in UP Diliman is the following:

Table 2: (Table 1 of de Dios report)

STFAP brackets and applicable

tuition-fee discounts(in pesos per credit-unit)

Bracket

Family income

Tuition fee

Applicable tuition

in urban areas

discount

     fee*

  (pesos)

(percent)

     (pesos)

       1

0-45,000

100

0

2

45,001-55,000

100

0

3

55,001-65,000

100

0

4

65,001-80,000

100

0

5

80,001-130,000

100

0

6

130,001-170,000

75

75

7

170,000-210,000

50

150

8

210,001-250,000

25

225

9

250,001 and above

0

300

Source: UP STFAP Bulletin 2001 as cited by the de Dios committee report. Rates for UP Diliman

Deception of the Roman Administration

The November 30, 2006 Philippine Daily Inquirer had the following news on the proposed UP TFI quoting largely UP officials:

ONLY students belonging to the “richest three percent of the population,” or about 20 percent of the incoming freshman batch, will bear the brunt of the proposed tuition increase at the University of the Philippines, officials said Thursday.

….. For instance, students in Bracket E (annual income of P80, 000 or less) will pay no tuition at all, and will receive a stipend of P12, 000 per semester. Students in Bracket D (annual income from P80, 001 to P135, 000) will enjoy a 70-percent discount, which means they will pay P300 per unit, the existing rate.

Students in Brackets C (annual income from P135, 001 to P500, 000) will pay P600 per unit. Those in Bracket B (annual income of P500, 001 to P1 million) will pay P1, 000 per unit.

http://newsinfo.inq7.net/breakingnews/metroregions/view_article.php?article_id=35698, downloaded, December 4, 2006)

This is deceptive. This press release of the Roman administration (which President Roman repeats in her December 5 Open letter to the UP Community) omits the following implication of the new STFAP bracketing.

In the current STFAP, students whose families have incomes of P80, 001-130,000 (Bracket 5) do not have to pay any tuition. Now they have to pay P300.00. That is a 300% increase.

Students whose families have incomes of P130, 001-170,000, who used to pay only P75 per unit, will now have to pay P600 per unit, which is a 700% increase.

Under the smokescreen of forcing rich UP students to pay the full cost or near the full cost of UP education, the Roman administration will be increasing by 300% to 700% the tuition of students whose family incomes fall way below the daily cost of living.[3]

The double standard that President Roman’s administration is using is evident in the new bracketing scheme. Inflation is the reason given for increasing tuition. But inflation is not taken into account when students whose family incomes merited full subsidy in 1989 are now going to be charged P300 or even P600 per unit!

Abandoning the rationale for state universities, Saying goodbye to the “iskolar ng bayan”

The Roman administration says:

“Even with the proposed adjustment, the fees remain significantly lower than the true cost of an undergraduate UP education, not to mention the cost of an undergraduate education in other comparable universities in the country,” they said.(PDI, November 30, 2006)

The above statement clearly points to the abandonment of the Roman administration of the rationale for state universities. A state university, and UP in particular, provides quality but accessible tertiary education and more importantly imbues students with the spirit of serving the nation and the people as “iskolar ng bayan”.

Randy David’s November 26, 2006 column in the Philippine Daily Inquirer describes the kind of students that UP Diliman produced in the 60s:

When I entered UP Diliman in the early ’60s, there were no more than 4,000 students on campus. They came from all over the country, representing the brightest young people of every province. They thought of themselves as the nation’s future leaders by virtue of their simply being there. Much was expected of them. In turn, they were imbued with a deep sense of duty to country and people. They did not think that their country owed them anything; on the contrary, they felt they owed the country everything, and that nothing would please them more than to be able to serve it. One might call it the nobility of public service. UP was elitist only in this sense—that its students thought of the nation’s future as their responsibility.

That “deep sense of duty to country and people” is as much a function of the fact that UP students are aware or are made aware that it was the people who were paying for their education as much as the content of a UP education itself.

And while David’s column would differentiate the UP graduates in the age of “labor mobility” and would raise question regarding the viability of subsidizing university education, his concluding paragraph argues the case for state subsidy.

The University of the Philippines, and for that matter other state universities and colleges,  provide an alternative to private tertiary institutions which range from a small number providing quality education at exorbitant costs whose benefits redound primarily to the individual and those which are basically diploma mills. UP as the university of the “iskolar ng bayan” cannot use as its basis for comparison in its costing scheme those of Ateneo or La Salle or even UST.  Doing so, would transform UP into a private university providing quality education at a high cost, with a small percentage of students as “scholars”. A “person for others” does service to the nation and to society as an individual choice, partly out of philanthropy, partly out of Christian obligation. But the “iskolar ng bayan” serves the nation as recognition of his/her debt of gratitude to the people who paid for his/her education.[4]

The Roman Administration’s justification that the new fees will affect only new students is a tactic intended to reduce the opposition of current students to the proposal. What is particularly reprehensible about this tactic is that the Roman administration is sending the message to the “iskolar ng bayan” to be apathetic so long as the matter does not directly affect them.

Making the “Iskolar ng Bayan Pay for the Failure of the Government to Fully Support State Universities and Colleges

The current plan to increase tuition to as high as P1, 500, increase current miscellaneous fees and impose new ones transfers to the students in increasing amounts the failure of the government to adequately support state universities and colleges.

The de Dios committee avers:

By continuing to price tuition significantly lower than direct cost in all units, of course,

 the University implicitly acknowledges the need for public subsidies. In this sense, therefore,

 except for a few exceptions to be discussed below, virtually all students in the University are

 still greater or lesser beneficiaries of state support, and the University’s character as an institution

 that benefits from state support is not negated. (PDF copy of report, p.9)

This statement actually conceals the fact that state subsidy per student will be drastically slashed from the current 78% per student to 47% or even as low as 23% . Based on the P1,531.00 cost of instruction per unit as pegged by the de Dios committee, full tuition subsidy is P27,558 for 18 units which UP undergraduate students usually take. The following table illustrates the projected decline of state subsidy to UP students’ tuition (miscellaneous fees are not included) as a proportion of the cost of instruction once the tuition increase is implemented.

 

Current Scheme

P300/unit

Proposed TF

P700/unit

 

Proposed TF

P1,000/unit

Proposed TFI

P1,500/unit

Total cost for 18 units

P6, 015

P14,600

P21, 240

P27,000

Government Subsidy

P21, 543

P12,958

P6, 318

558.00

% of government subsidy to total cost

78%

47%

23%

2%

Adapted from STAND-UP: Praymer hinggil sa Panukalang pagtataas ng matrikula at iba pang bayarin

[Unang Borador, Nobyembre 10, 2006]

UP will have full iskolar ng bayan, half iskolar ng bayan, a quarter of iskolar ng bayan and practically a none iskolar ng bayan

On the other hand, the increase in tuition and other fees is projected by the Atanacio committee to generate  the following revenues for UP:

Depending upon the application rate assumed for STFAP, revenue from tuition and miscellaneous fees range from P85.1 million (40% application rate) to P68.1 million (80% application rate). With stipends ranging from a low of P8.2 million to a high of P16.4 million, net inflows for one semester from freshmen enrollees would be anywhere between P51.7 and P76.9 million. Relative to the P40 million (the footnote says this is a very rough estimate) that the University currently receives from tuition and miscellaneous fess, this means an additional P12-36 million in revenues for the University for one semester or roughly P24-P72 million a year.[5] (Atanacio committee report: p.8)

The P24-P72 million per year additional revenue in addition to the current “rough estimate of P40 million revenue per year”, will mean  from P256 million to P288 million income of the university from tuition and miscellaneous fees once the increase reaches full implementation. This amount is clearly an underestimation when current UP financial statement already pegs earnings from tuition alone (as there is a separate category for miscellaneous student fees) to almost P300 million pesos.[6]

The increase in UP self-generated income (the revolving fund item in the UP budget) will further justify  the continuing decrease in the state allocation for the university. The following table illustrates the relative reduction in the amount allocated by the government to UP and the increase in the university’s self-generated income in the past six years.

UP Budget : 2000-2006

GF

RLIP

RF

IOB

2001

3,576,893

255,377

868,564

4,700,834

2002

4,338,955

268,778

951,734

5,559,467

2003

4,340,000

287,000

967,291

5,594,709

2004

4,230,741

289,043

935,703

5,455,000

2005

4,162,794

289,046

951,024

5,402,864

2006

4,105,205

289,046

1,018,822

5,413,073

1. GF=General Fund; from the General Appropriations Act

2. RLIP=Retirement Life Insurance Premiums; allocation for employees benefits

3. RF=Revolving Fund; self-generated income of the university

4. IOB=Internal Operating Budget; total annual UP budget (GF+RLIP+RF)

The Roman Administration’s Thrust: Implementing Full Throttle the Neo-Liberal Thrust in Tertiary Education

The All-UP Academic Employees Union and UP students who oppose the imposition of higher tuition and other fees have time and again posited that the alternative to generating income from the students is to demand for higher budget allocation for the University.

The justification for the tuition and other fee increase proposal of the de Dios committee (p.2)reflects the position of the UP administration regarding such demand:

One, there is not enough money “given the government’s chronic budgetary difficulties”

Two, “the idea of students paying their way through higher education (though possibly through state-financed loans) has gained ground even in developed countries not facing budget-constraints demonstrates on the other hand that this is not merely a response to the exigency of a budget-shortfall but a general principle to be affirmed”

Three, “a public subsidy to an activity is justified based on likely positive externalities arising from it, i.e., social benefits not apparent to the individual himself. It can be argued that virtually all the benefits of an undergraduate education are in fact  appropriable by the private individual himself, who should be therefore be willing to pay for its cost. Proof of this is people’s demonstrated willingness to pay for private college education (and indeed the Philippines already has an unusually high ratio of college-finishers to total its labour-force). The matter may be different, however, for graduate studies in some fields (e.g., the natural sciences) whose preservation and expansion are nationally significant though not privately profitable.”

Arguments number two and number three essentially take precedence over argument number one. The continuing state abandonment of education, particularly tertiary education, as reflected in the miniscule and relatively unchanging allocation for state universities and colleges is not a function of lack of funds per se but is a policy in line with the belief that tertiary education is a “private good” whose benefits redound to the individual.

The Roman Administration’s stand regarding state subsidy for tertiary education is consistent with the analysis and recommendations of  the World Bank and ADB 1998 study entitled: “Philippine Education for the 21st Century: The 1998 Philippines Education Sector Study”.

For example, many analysts would argue that externalities are relatively more important in primary education than at higher levels of education (even though there is little credible quantitative evidence in research done anywhere of externalities at any level of education underscoring ours). Basic literacy and numeracy should lower transaction costs in the economy and result in faster, less frictional communication. Professional and technical education may yield high private returns in terms of earnings differentials, but most such returns (with the exception of taxed earnings) are gained privately. [p.11]

The study notes that raising government allocation to secondary and tertiary education is inefficient and is made more so when such education is provided “free of charge or at very low cost-recovery rates”. The ADB/World Bank report further avers that “(t)his has the predictable effect of undermining the private sector’s share of the education market”. (p.14) The study recommends charging more for post basic education while offering subsidies to “deserving” students.

It is no wonder then, that recent UP administrations, except in 2000 when then UP President Nemenzo led the UP community in a rally in Mendiola to protest planned cuts in the UP budget, have shown minimal or no support of UP student mobilizations and actions demanding for higher budget for UP and for education. Instead, they, and particularly the Roman Administration, have moved towards implementing user’s fees for student’s use of UP facilities such as the “per square meter” charge to UP Engineering students for the use of the lobby, increasing graduate students’ tuition, increasing laboratory and other fees and entering joint-ventures with private businesses among various income generating activities. The tuition fee increase proposal tops all the moneymaking ventures of the Roman administration in terms of earning potential.

Reiterating Our Position

We are demanding for  a halt to any rise in tuition and other fees and the imposition of new ones  in the University.

We call on the UP Administration to join us in the fight to lobby for an increase of the annual UP budget and not to resort to adding greater financial problems to the already worsening conditions of UP families, brought about by the incessant rise in the prices of goods and services. We are not demanding this increase of the UP budget at the expense of basic education ( primary and secondary education in the Philippines ) as the de Dios committee accuses us, up to its old trick again of pitting one sector against another to drive home a point. What we demand is a general increase in the education budget of the government, including for basic education and for other state universities and colleges (SUCs), which we believe can be achieved if the national government changes its budget prioritization for foreign debt and the military. It must be noted that from the supposed higher present budget of UP compared to other SUCs as the de Dios committee reminds us, 1/3 goes to the PGH (the leading government hospital).

We are reiterating our vehement objection to the creeping commercialization of our University as exemplified, among other things, in an increase in tuition and other fees as the usual practice in private schools like La Salle and Ateneo, which the de Dios committee uses as a point of positive comparison to UP tuition policy. Gradual commercialization is after all a prelude to privatization as what happened to many government corporations.

We call on all to fight to preserve the status of UP as a state school providing affordable and quality education to the “iskolar ng bayan”. The UP administration can work with other sectors of the University in a transparent manner to improve the resources of the University, and not transfer the burden of supporting state education to its students. For indeed, it behooves the leaders of our University to be democratically responsible and accountable to the constituencies they serve.


References:

UP Administration Documents:

Ad-hoc committee to review tuition and other fees, “Final Report”, posted on the up.edu.ph website, December 7, 2006 (this is the de Dios Committee Report referred to in this paper)

“Report of the Committee to Review the Socialized Tuition and Financial Assistance Program (STFAP)” posed on the up.edu.ph website, December 8, 2006,  (this is the Atanacio committee report referred to in this paper)

UP President Emerlinda R. Roman. “Open Letter to the UP Community on the Proposed Tuition Fee Increase” dated December 5, 2006, posted on the up.edu.ph website December 7, 2006.

Emmanuel de Dios, “Responses to Some Questions on the Proposed Tuition-Fee Revisions”, posted on the up.edu.ph website, December 8, 2006

UP System Statement of Other Receipts and Expenditures (FY 2004-2006)

Papers Opposing Tuition and Other Fees Increase Proposal

            All-UP Academic Employees Union, “Position Paper of the All-UP Academic Employees Union on the Proposed Increase in Tuition and Miscellaneous Fees”

All-UP Academic Employees Union,  “Rejoinder of the All UP Academic Union(AUPAU) to the Response of the de Dios Committee to the AUPAU Position Paper on the Proposal to Increase Tuition and Other Fees for incoming UP students”

University Student Council, UP Diliman “USC position paper on proposed tuition fee hike”, Oblation, August 2006

            STAND-UP, “Praymer hinggil sa Panukalang pagtataas ng matrikula at iba pang bayarin”, Nobyembre 11, 2006

 

From Philippine Daily Inquirer

 

DJ Yap, “UP tuition hike will affect only the very rich—officials” , Inquirer, November 30, 2006, (http://newsinfo.inq7.net/breakingnews/metroregions/view_article.php?article_id=35698, downloaded, December 4, 2006)

Solita Collas-Monsod, “No cause for caterwauling”, Inquirer, November 18, 2006, p. A13

Solita Collas-Monsod, “Trapo’-like spins on UP tuition hikes”, Inquirer, November 25, 2006, p. A13.

Randy David, “UP and the case for state subsidy” in the column PUBLIC LIVES, Philippine Daily Inquirer, November 26, 2006, p. A13



[1] Members of the inner circle of the UP administration appear to have copies of the STFAP Review Committee Report earlier than its release to the members of the Board of Regents. UP Economics Professor and Inquirer columnist Solita Monsod named Esguerra as the chair of the committee in her November 18 Inquirer column. President Roman in her December 5 Open Letter to the UP Community named Prof. Atanacio as the chair of the STFAP Review Committee

[2] “Position Paper of the All-UP Academic Employees Union on the Proposed Increase in Tuition and Miscellaneous Fees” and “Rejoinder of the All UP Academic Union(AUPAU) to the Response of the de Dios Committee to the AUPAU Position Paper on the Proposal to Increase Tuition and Other Fees for incoming UP students”

[3] The rise in inflation rate (from 3% in 2002 to 7.7% in 2005) has driven the daily cost of living (DCOL) for 2005 for a family of six ever higher to P650.17 (or P234,061.2/year before tax) in the NCR and to P534.80 (P192,528/year before tax) for the rest of the Philippines. (National Statistics Office)

[4] With the imposition of higher tuition and other fees, the economic stratification among UP students would become more marked. The Atanacio  committee suggests that “the University may want to consider opening an ‘express’ or ‘special assessment’ lane for bracket A” (Atanacio committee report, p. 7). This is the millionaire lane. On the other hand, it also suggests that for students who may have to pay higher tuition and other fees in advance because of late submission of applications, the university “may want to explore the possibility of allowing students to pay their tuition, laboratory, and miscellaneous fess on installment basis”. (Atanacio committee report, p. 16). These two recommendations, when adopted,  would really provide a fitting indication of what UP as a state university  has become after 100 years of  existence.

[5] The committee’s projection is based on a 15-unit loading and is therefore already a conservative estimate as most UP undergraduate students have to enroll in 18 units to complete the course requirements within the prescribed period.

[6] Based on the UP System Statement of Other Receipts and Expenditures (FY 2004-2006), student tuition already contributed the single largest share in the item of “Business Income” of the University for 2005: P296,460,000 out of a total of P429,608,000.

 

The date posted here is due to our website rebuild, it does not reflect the original date this article was posted. This article was originally posted in Yonip in Dec 11th 2006

 

 

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