- April 23, 2023 10:34
Far Eastern University Central Student Organization (FEUCSO) along with the Institute Student Councils (ISCs) penned an inquiry letter to the Treasurer’s Office (TO) last January 10, to clarify the basis for the miscellaneous and discount changes.
In an interview with FEU Advocate, FEUCSO President Arnold Kristoff Luzon, Treasurer Roberto Reynoso II, and Auditor Rex Martinez shared how the uninformed changes are concerning and a threat to the students’ rights.
Luzon also added that the council’s right to participate in policy-making was disregarded, considering that it is all ‘stipulated’ in the FEU students’ rights that consultations should be made and that student representatives should be involved in such changes.
“This is quite alarming for us because right from the very start we’ve always been in coordination with them… Kung totoo itong changes na-review namin (If the changes reviewed were true), it wasn’t consulted to us. It’s somehow a threat to the rights of the students, especially our access to information,” Luzon stated.
In the letter addressed to FEU Treasurer Rosanna Esguerra-Salcedo, the student council included the illustrations of comparison which show the findings of the investigation. The Institute of Education (IE) SC found that there is an increase in their basic miscellaneous fees amounting from P929.85 to P2,013.75.
Similar amounts ranging from around P900 up to more than P2,000 have also been discovered in the decrease of miscellaneous fee rebates for all institutes except the Institute of Law which prompts the increase of the total amount of tuition fee.
In relation to this, Reynoso noted that the increase in the basic misc fees and decrease in the discounts may only make it more challenging for the students to enroll.
Moreover, CHED recently announced the list of Private Higher Education Institutions (PHEIs) allowed to increase tuition and other fees (TOFS). Far Eastern University is not included on the list although there is no verification if the university applied for it.
“I’m not sure if ‘yung rebated amounts ba ay part ng definition ng tuition increase o hindi (I’m not sure if the rebated amounts are part of the definition of tuition increase [of CHEd] or not),” Luzon clarified.
Regardless, the FEUCSO president asserted that if rebated amounts were restored in miscellaneous fees, he stands firm that it should have been consulted with FEUCSO to keep the student body informed.
Lack of response from the Treasurer’s Office
Despite the numerous calls from the FEUCSO, the student leaders expressed their disappointment on how they have been repeatedly left unattended with their concerns.
Last May 2020, the council’s request for tuition and miscellaneous fee breakdown was left unanswered.
In August 2020, the council issued a public statement requesting for an open dialogue regarding the breakdown of tuition and rebated fees but the TO remained silent.
Furthermore, Martinez also shared that the council sought an explanation for the ID maintenance fee but the office has yet to respond since the academic year started.
As clarified by the FEUCSO president, ever since the council began sending letters, FEUCSO received no direct response from the TO.
“Right now, naghihintay pa rin naman kami (we are still waiting). We’re still giving them [the] benefit of the doubt… [the] time to prepare their response and their explanation with regard to our inquiry,” Luzon said.
When asked what the FEU administration can do to improve transparency, both Reynoso and Martinez affirmed that early release of tuition fee breakdown is a must.
During the interview, Reynoso said that a complete breakdown of the tuition fees, especially the misc fees, has yet to be released despite the ongoing enrollment.
“Our only request is for an explanation or clarification on certain fees. Sa tingin ko napakahalaga nu’n para at least, ‘yung mga estudyante alam nila na bawat pera na binabayad nila sa university ay worth it, alam nila kung saan napupunta ‘yung pera,” Luzon stated.
As of writing, the TO has yet to respond with FEU Advocate.
- Laurice Anne U. Alas