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National

NEW AND IMPROVED? | UP updates socialized tuition system

InterAksyon.com
The online news portal of TV5

MANILA, Philippines -- The University of the Philippines will implement a new tuition system starting school year 2014 to 2015 that will “speed-up the processing of tuition bracket applications, adjust income brackets of student applicants, and increase the stipend of poor students.”

The Socialized Tuition System, which replaces the 24-year-old Socialized Tuition and Financial Assistance Program, will also cut on the paperwork by reducing the 14-page application form to two pages, and the number of indicators for applicants from four to two.

Incoming freshmen will be the first beneficiaries of the new tuition system.

The UP System Information Office acknowledged that the STFAP has been “criticized for its long and tedious application process, mismatches between assigned brackets and the actual financial capacity of students, and inadequate benefits for those in the lowest income bracket.”

Calls for reforms of the STFAP ramped up early this year following the suicide of UP Manila coed Kristel Tejada following the denial of her loan application.

UP President Alfredo Pascual said work on the STS had begun before Tejada’s suicide.

“We have worked on the STS since the start of my administration in 2011 and it is part of our commitment to make sure that no qualified student will be denied a UP education on account of financial need,” he said.

He also acknowledged that, while the STFAP was intended to promote “fairness and social justice in the university,” it was marred by “implementation problems and conceptual issues” through the years.

The UP Board of Regents unanimously approved the STS in its last meeting, said the university. Almost two years of “research, verification, and consultation with all stakeholders” went into its creation.

The STFAP divides students into six tuition brackets according to their family’s annual income.

TUITION BRACKET

STFAP

UP Diliman, UP Los Banos, UP Manila (Tuition rate per unit)

UP Baguio, UP Cebu, UP Mindanao, UP San Fernando, UP Visayas (Tuition rate per unit)

A

P1,000,000 and above

P1,500

P1,000

B

P500,001 to P1,000,000

P1,000

P600

C

P250,001 to P500,000

P600

P400

D

P135,001 to P250,000

P300

P200

E1

P80,001 to P135,000

-

-

E2

P80,000 and less

-

-

The new system features “the upward adjustment of income cut-offs for brackets A, B, C, and D.”

These will be “adjusted by 30 percent to address the drift towards upper brackets as income rises due to inflation,” according to UP. “The rate reflects the extent of inflation between 2006, when the current cut-offs were established, and the end of 2012.”

Thus, many students will find themselves in lower tuition brackets, and in effect, will pay lower tuition as well. 

TUITION BRACKET

STS

UP Diliman, UP Los Banos, UP Manila (Tuition rate per unit)

UP Baguio, UP Cebu, UP Mindanao, UP San Fernando, UP Visayas (Tuition rate per unit)

A

P1,300,001 and above

P1,500

P1,000

B

P650,001 to P1,300,000

P1,000

P600

C

P325,001 to P650,000

P600

P400

D

P135,001 to P325,000

P300

P200

E1

P80,001 to P135,000

-

-

E2

P80,000 and less

-

-

Aside from these changes, the STS will use a new model by the Marketing and Opinion Research Society of the Philippines for the socioeconomic classification of Philippine households, said UP.

The indicators to classify applicants will use only the MORES instrument and the student’s declared household income.

Students can also apply online to cut the long processing time, “sometimes lasting ten months,” according to UP.

Students from Bracket E2 will get an increased monthly allowance from P2,400 to P3,500 per month for ten months a year, said UP. This allowance may be in the form of cash, meals, dormitory accommodation, and others, it added.

What will remain unchanged are the tuition rates.

UP explained that all students are subsidized based on these rates. With the institution’s annual budget, “government subsidy for UP for salaries and operating expenses stands at about P120,000 per student.”

Even a student under Bracket A, for example, will only pay P50,000 annually should he or she have a normal academic load, said UP.

The STS will cost UP at least P300 million in reduced tuition income and additional stipend payments, according to the institution.

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