Youth group, PUP students call on school admin to nix new fees
With the Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP) administration already beginning the collection of three new compulsory fees, youth group Kabataan Partylist (KPL) and PUP students staged a noise barrage and picket protest near the PUP Amphitheater at 11 a.m. today to call on the PUP administration to halt the implementation of the said fees.
“At a time when the price of basic commodities are rising to epic proportions, it is not justifiable to impose new compulsory fees for students, especially in PUP, where majority of students come from working and peasant class families greatly afflicted by the crisis,” said KPL Secretary General Vencer Crisostomo.
Students queuing for payment have marked their registration forms with “paid under protest,” as other student formations arranged noise barrages throughout the PUP Mabini campus.
Following suit with the wave of tuition and other fee increases set to be implemented by almost 300 higher education institutions in the country next semester, the PUP administration is now charging new miscellaneous fees for incoming freshmen, said Raven Desposado, president of the PUP Central Student Council.
Upon enrolment, incoming freshmen are required to pay P150 for the medical examination fee and P305 for a set of Physical Education (PE) uniforms. Meanwhile, all PUP students who would enroll in the National Service Training Program (NSTP), on-the-job training courses, and PE subjects will be charged a compulsory P35 “accidental insurance fee.”
Before this planned compulsory payment, the said fees were optional for all students, Desposado explained, adding that the three fees have not yet been approved by the PUP Board of Regents formally, and yet has been already included in the fees being collected in the enrolment for the first semester of school year 2012-2013 that began last May 16.
“The PUP administration railroaded the implementation of the new fees to extract more money from students in the light of the continuing decline of government funding,” said Desposado. According to the 2012 General Appropriations Act, PUP is set to receive only P724.78 million this year as government subsidy, while it actually needs P2 billion annually to sustain its operations fully.
With the addition of the three new fees, the total miscellaneous fee in PUP has become higher than the tuition students pay. At P12 per unit, PUP remains to be one of the few state universities that have affordable tuition rates. However, with the new fees, a student enrolling for a regular 24-unit load will pay over P1,500 for miscellaneous fees, while only paying P288 for tuition, for a total of over P1,800.
“Even if there is no impending tuition increase, the imposition of new compulsory fees is, in essence, a devious way of increasing fees,” Crisostomo said.
“We challenge the PUP administration to withdraw these compulsory fees and maintain PUP’s character as a university of the masses. Charging dubious fee increases are only stop-gap measures that cannot replace the need for greater state subsidy,” Crisostomo said.#