#AyokoMagmahal: College students oppose tuition hike
MANILA, Philippines – Ayoko magmahal (I don’t want costs to go up).
This was the battle cry that University of Santo Tomas students brought to social media on Friday, February 20. The slogan, which also alludes to skepticism on the act of love, serves as a protest against the possible increase in tuition and other fees (TOFI) in UST.
UST is one of at least 400 universities and colleges poised to hike their tuition and other fees, according to the crowdsourcing mechanism tool of the National Union of Students of the Philippines (NUSP). Many of these schools, according to the organization, hiked their fees in the past school year.
In case the proposed tuition and other fee increase (TOFI) push through, students in these universities will be shelling out up to 13% more.
According to Sarah Elago, NUSP national president, colleges and universities seeking to hike tuition and other fees have 3 common reasons for the proposal: inflation, faculty development, and reported losses.
But Elago argued that these justifications are not enough. “In fact, the average 8% TOFI is 3 times bigger than the prevailing inflation rate of the country,” Elago added in Filipino.
To make matters worse, Elago added that the TOFI usually affects schools with the biggest population.
“Last year, 287 out of the more than 1600 universities and colleges nationwide increased tuition and other fees. These 287 are the biggest schools of national signficance, including FEU, UST, and UE,” Elago added.
The TOFI proposals will not push through without proper consultation with the people most affected by the increase: the students. Elago, however, expressed concern on the way TOFI consultations are usually carried out in some schools.
“In our experience, for the longest time, consultation has evolved to mere justification and presentation of fees increase. Students have no voice in the consultation,” Elago shared.
The Commission on Higher Education said it is looking into the proposed TOFI in the colleges and universities and will issue an official list of schools by March or April.
On Monday, February 23, representatives from different student councils are expected to share with congressmen and the media their experience during the TOFI proposal consultation in their respective universities.
Schools that have proposed TOFI for the following schoolyear include Cagayan State University, Collegio De San Juan de Letran, Ateneo de Naga University, De La Salle Araneta University, La Consolacion College-Iriga City, Saint Louis University-Baguio City, University of San Carlos, Mindanao Polytechnic College, Cebu Normal University, and Ateneo de Zamboanga University. – Rappler.com