FEU proposes 3.5% tuition hike, sparks stude protest

FEU Advocate
February 23, 2019 11:55

By Trisha Angelika C. Ignacio and Aldaia Danelle B. Auman

Far Eastern University (FEU) proposed a 3.5% tuition increase for the academic year (A.Y.) 2019-2020 in the consultation held at the Mini Auditorium last February 21. Student councils (SC) protested through their non-attendance in the consultation while groups rallied outside the campus to denounce the said hike.

In the consultation, the administration’s proposed tuition and other fees increase (TFI) for the second, third, and fourth year students was 0.5% higher from last year’s 3% increase. For freshmen, the TFI is set at 5%.

Assistant Vice President for Academic Affairs Joeven Castro emphasized that the increases are in line with the university’s academic development plans and aspiration to be “among the top five universities” in the country.

“The decision to increase is to pursue the development goals and ensure a meaningful student experience while overcoming the impact of the external factors,” he stated.

Castro shared that inflation in the country is a “crucial factor” in determining whether there will be an increase in tuition and other school fees. According to him, the forecast inflation rate for 2019 is between 4% and 4.5%.

Last year, the forecasted rate was at 3.6% but the actual inflation rose to 5.2%. He added that the forecasted rate for 2019 may still increase given the condition of the economy.

“Can we tell the government or can we tell the economy, ‘please do not have inflation’? That is an external factor. Wala po tayong control diyan (We have no control over it),” he claimed.

For the miscellaneous fees, a 4.56% increase is proposed to be implemented next year. The said increase will total to P487 for the freshmen and P476 for the upperclassmen.

Moreover, he discussed the new additions to the increase including the anti-plagiarism fee of P100. It was added to ‘’level up’’ the quality of the students’ theses and written outputs. The university plans to subscribe to a software called “Turnitin” to detect plagiarized works.

An increase of 5.1% will also be added to the medical fee of the upperclassmen to support the mandatory drug testing policy by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA). The university will start to collect ‘comprehensive samples’ from students for the drug testing next school year.

Under the Institute of Architecture and Fine Arts (IARFA), a P530 fee is proposed for the revival of the Circle Magazine. It was inclined to be a “repository of outputs” and a portfolio for the IARFA students.

For the incoming freshmen, a P5,000 non-refundable reservation fee will be implemented as an assurance for a slot for the next school year.

Also, a graduation package of P1,624 inclusive of graduation service fee, diploma holder and courier fee will be incorporated for graduation candidates next school year. Castro also stated that the Office of the Registrar will be partnering with a courier service to deliver the documents at the doorstep for students’ convenience.

The AVPAA clarified that the passing of the requirements to the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) regarding the said increases will still push through.

“We have the sufficient number of students and student leaders to comply with CHED’s requirements on tuition fee increase. Yesterday was one of the several consultations. Institute-based consultations were also conducted two weeks ago,” Castro uttered.

Student councils protest

The student councils and officers from various academic organizations forfeited their presence in the tuition increase consultation.

In an online post, the FEU Central Student Organization (FEUCSO) denounced the proposed tuition increase prior to the day of the said consultation.

“We, the FEU Central Student Organization, strongly abhor the tuition increase,” the organization asserted on its official Facebook page.

FEUCSO President Reuben Sobrevilla claimed that the consultation has “no transparency, open dialogue for student-admin rapport and compromise” for students.

“This is the reason why we abhor the increase: first, lack of transparency sa (in) consultation process, hindi s’ya (it is not) open dialogue at (and) admin-centered. They just present what they want, pero ‘pag against ang estudyante (if the students are against) on proposed increase wala rin naman sila ginagawa (they are not doing anything),” Sobrevilla said.

He also believes that the students’ tuitions are “already sufficient.”

Naniniwala ako na (I believe that) if you really want to upgrade your facilities, you have to use your own profit, your own money. Hindi dapat s’ya (It should not be) projected sa dapat ibigay ng estudyante (on what the students should give). I really believe na sapat na ‘yung ating binabayad (what we are paying is already sufficient) as a student, we don’t need the increase,” he shared.

Despite the student councils’ non-attendance, Castro believed that the FEU management is still open for discussions regarding the increases beyond the consultation period.

“We would have wanted more student leaders to attend because the consultation is the chance for both parties to discuss the achievements for the school year, the development plans, and areas of improvement but they decided not to attend. Yesterday could have been an opportunity to raise their evidence-based concerns. I believe that the FEU management is open to having more discussions with more student leaders even beyond the consultation period,” he ended.

Meanwhile, allied forces, headed by youth-activist group Anakbayan, gathered in front of FEU Technology Building to denounce the tuition hike during the day of the consultation.

“To begin with, hindi naman consultation ang nangyayari kasi binababa na lang sa mga estudyante ang increases (the increases are only being presented to the students so there is no consultation happening). In the recent past, neoliberal policies only worsened through CHED Memorandum Order No. 3, s. 2012, which, in essence, made CHED just a "rubber stamp" for tuition increases,” Anakbayan president Kyle Atienza claimed.

The CHED Memorandum Order No. 3, series of 2012, is subjected as “Enhanced Policies, Guidelines and Procedures Governing Increases in Tuition and Other School Fees, Introduction of New Fees and For Other Purposes.”

For breakdown and comparative schedule of tuition and other school fees for the academic years 2018-2019 and 2019-2020, click here: https://bit.ly/35vaJJP