Vice President for Finance and Administration Fe Marie Tagle said Silliman University needs to increase tuition for new enrolees next year to sustain the improvement of learning facilities and services especially for the K to 12 program.
Tagle repeated this announcement during the consultation meeting with faculty and staff unions, Silliman University Student Government (SUSG) and the Weekly Sillimanian last Feb. 12.
The university had announced last Jan. 26 that starting June 2018, a 10 percent increase in tuition for incoming early childhood, elementary, high school and college enrolees will be imposed.
However, member of Silliman University Faculty Association (SUFA) Victor Aguilan during the consultation expressed his worry that the increase may discourage possible new enrolees in the university.
“I’m looking at it from the marketing perspective. How do we convince the students to come to SU? And are we really fair in the way we charge the students, that for every centavo they pay, they get the equivalent services?” Aguilan asked.
He added that the increase in tuition may burden the students and discourage the parents to enrol their children in the university.
To avoid the possible decrease in enrolees, Aguilan suggested that the administration should revisit the fees with the students and “find ways to rationalize SU’s fees and costing.”
However, VP Tagle insisted that the increase is necessary to meet the costs of running the university.
“Ideally, for a school to run, it should be dependent solely on tuition and fees. Because if you’re talking about sustainability of the school, you will have to make sure that the students will pay for all the services,” she said.
For school year 2017-2018, the university’s budget amounts to P704 million. 58 percent comes from tuition and fees paid by students, while 42 percent comes from other sources.
“If you look at tuition and fees alone, it cannot cover everything, the costs of the services in the university,” Tagle said.
70 percent of a student’s tuition goes to salary and benefits of employees, while 30 percent and other fees for other services.
“We cannot burden the students for all there is in the operations. Especially now that there is free tuition in other state colleges and universities, the call for increase may not be welcomed by parents,” Tagle said.
And so the university has been very creative in looking for other sources, she added.
“But, at that level, we cannot impose much on other sources because if you look at the commercial areas, we have been ‘zoned,’ and if you look at the commercial zones, it’s been fully utilized and so if we charge more on this and then we do not have those fund sources, more costs mean students either pay or the university goes into a deficit and so that’s what we want to avoid,” Tagle explained.
Moreover, Tagle assured the union that students are getting the quality education they are paying for.
“Whether [the students] get value for their money, we always say ‘yes.’ Because for every one peso that we spend for services, the students only pay 58 centavos. That’s reflected in our financial statement [available on the website]…” Tagle explained.
Tagle said that the tuition hike is also due to the changes in the curriculum of the different colleges and professional courses.
Freshmen college students will have General Education (GE) courses on top of their respective majors, Tagle said.
She added that these courses are different from the usual arts subjects in college, since they are integrative.
“So they will have math, technology, application… It’s a different thing (from the arts subjects before). The usual [arts subjects] that we had is now in Senior High School,” Tagle said.
As for adjustments, Tagle said the administration will be imposing additional fees like graduation and diploma fees to programs like the Senior High School (SHS), who now have their own department.
“Naa man sila’y courses that they have their fees, we’ll be imposing those fees. Example, they will be having subjects like immersion. They will be charged for that,” Tagle explained.
Meanwhile, Tagle said the administration along with the SU Student Government (SUSG) will conduct another review of the costs next year to see if there is a need to adjust other fees.
“For the tuition, it’s an upward adjustment at this time. For the fees, it depends…So that the effect is zero effect, you will have increase in one and decrease on the other. But there may be a requirement to increase some fees, depending on the review,” Tagle said.
With the increase of the tuition, Tagle said budgets for colleges may also increase depending on the number of enrollees and available resources.
No consultation needed
Tagle clarified that they did not have to consult the SUSG and the faculty and staff unions before they submitted the proposed tuition hike as stipulated in Article III Section 5 of the CHED memorandum on Consultation Process and Requirements that sates “All Higher Education Institutions (HEIs), public or private, intending to increase their tuition and other school fees for the ensuing Academic Year shall conduct consultations, as hereinafter defined and provided, with their student councils/governments, and their faculty, alumni and/or non-teaching personnel associations.”
“[The increase] is only for incoming students and not the students who are currently enrolled in the university, so it would not affect all students,” she said.
However, during the consultation meeting, Tagle encouraged the SUSG and the unions to submit a proposal to CHED should they have any concerns about the proposed tuition hike by the administration.
Tagle will also meet with the Parents-Teachers Association of the School of Basic Education, excluding Senior High School, within this month.