UP Manila suspends ‘no late payment policy’

Voltaire Tupaz
(UPDATED) UP Manila Chancellor Manuel Agulto suspended on Tuesday, March 19, the "no late payment policy" that had been widely criticized after the death of a UP Manila student

INDIGNATION. UP Manila community mourns the death of Kristel Tejada. Photo by Jigs Tenorio

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – University of the Philippines Manila Chancellor Manuel Agulto suspended on Tuesday, March 19, the “no late payment policy” that had been widely criticized after 16-year-old Kristel Tejada committed suicide last week, reportedly over failure to pay tuition on time.

According to Prof Carl Ramota, chairperson of the Department of Social Science in UP Manila, Agulto announced the suspension of the controversial policy in a meeting among department chairs of the College of Arts and Sciences in UP Manila and select student leaders on Tuesday, March 19. 

Agulto was quoted as saying the suspension of the “no late payment policy’ will immediately take effect pending review in April 2013 by UP’s Board of Regents, the highest policy-making body of the state university.

Only UP Manila of the 7 autonomous units of the UP system enforces a “no late payment” policy. The policy required students to pay their full tuition fee up front when they enroll. They can opt for installment payments but also need to be approved.

On October 23, the UP Manila administration released a memorandum barring students with unpaid accounts from being admitted to their classes.

But in an earlier press conference, Vice Chancellor Josephine de Luna, who signed the memo enforcing the policy said, “there were 79 appeals for late payments that were approved from the period November to December 2012. So it was really extended for students who were requesting for late payments.” 

Too late the hero?

UP student regent Cleve Arguelles welcomed Agulto’s decision but questioned the chancellor’s motive.

After yesterday’s press conference where Agulto spent hours trying to blame Kristel and her family for what happened to her and categorically saying that he feels no guilt despite not doing everything, why is he being applogetic and singing a different tune now? In the face of the nation, he blames the victim. In the face of the UPM communty, he sympathizes. What happened in between?” Arguelles asked.

Agulto told a press conference on Monday, March 18, UP Manila officials did everything they could to help Tejada.

According to Agulto, Tejada was granted a total of 3 extensions for the payment of her student loan. He noted that Tejada appealed for late payment of her tuition fee only on January 23, or 9 weeks past the deadline set for the semester.

To be relieved from paying her student loan, Tejada appealed for a re-bracketing to a lower Socialized Tuition and Financial Assistance Program (STFAP) bracket on Sept 27, 2012. However, Agulto noted that she failed to submit the requirements needed for the appeal to be processed for the designated period.

He turned emotional in the press conference saying, “My outburst was because I remembered how hard it was for me to get my medical degree. As far as guilt is concerned, wala (none).” – With reports from Raisa Serafica/Rappler.com




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