#BracketAKaNa: UP students rage over STS

Raisa Serafica
#BracketAKaNa: UP students rage over STS
#BracketAKaNa trended worldwide on Monday, June 30. Here's why

MANILA, Philippines – #BracketAKaNa trended worldwide on June 30, Monday. Wondered what this is all about?

On Monday night, netizens expressed their disappointment over the University of the Philippines’ Socialized Tuition Scheme (STS) with tweets alluding to the results state scholars received after accomplishing the STS form online.

STS replaced the 23-year old Socialized Tuition Fee Assistance Program (STFAP) as the state university’s alphabetic scheme and scholarship program which categorizes students according to their socio-economic standing.

Reforms

The reforms applied to STS aim to address the gaps identified in STFAP, including the tedious application process and alleged “inaccuracies” of the old bracketing system.

Increased stipend, an automated bracket assignment procedure, and a simplified application process are among the reforms in STS.

According to UP President Alfredo Pascual, STS is “expected to have a fair reading of the students’ socio-economic standing.”

UP students were required to submit a two-page form to serve as the basis for assigning their bracket and tuition rate. Previously, applicants who wanted to be categorized in lower brackets and pay lesser tuition were required to submit a 14-page form every year.

Under STS, students who fall under the lowest bracket will also enjoy an increased  allowance – from P2,400 (US$55) to P3,500 (US$80) per month.  The stipend can either be in the form of cash, meals, dormitory accommodation, among others.

Pascual added that the logic of reforming STFAP to STS is simple: to simplify, speed up, and adjust to the times.

“From the time [STFAP] was adapted in 2006, from 2006-2012, the inflation rate was 30%; price levels have changed. We needed to adjust, so what we did is adjust the bracket,” Pascual added.

Improvement?

However, based on the #BracketAKaNa tweets, it seems like none of these reforms were felt nor appreciated by UP students.

Social networking sites exploded with complaints from students regarding the results they got, claiming that most students moved up the bracketing system. 

I’m not happy about the result. I was categorized at bracket C last year. Now, I’ve been placed at bracket B even though we had a difficult time paying for my tuition when I was still in C.” said Carl Paolo Hernandez, an incoming junior taking up Choral Conducting in UP Diliman. 

Jai Saldejano, on the other hand, expressed his doubts on the accuracy of STS with the disparate results he and his sister received. 

My sister got assigned to bracket B and mine said no tuition discount. Syempre I was shocked, and somewhat disappointed kasi ‘inayos’ na nga daw nila yung sistema, pero mali parin,” Saldejano added. 

(I was shocked and somewhat disappointed since they said they will fix the system)

 Other tweets range from amusing, satirical to angry. 

Share with us your thoughts on the STS results by commenting on the thread below! 

– with a report from Jee Geronimo/Rappler.com

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Raisa Serafica

Raisa Serafica is the Unit Head of Civic Engagement of Rappler. As the head of MovePH, Raisa leads the on ground engagements of Rappler aimed at building a strong community of action in the Philippines. Through her current and previous roles at Rappler, she has worked with different government agencies, collaborated with non-governmental organizations, and trained individuals mostly on using digital technologies for social good.