MANILA, Philippines – Despite complaints against the Socialized Tuition System (STS), the University of the Philippines (UP) administration claimed that more students will enjoy the benefits of the new bracketing scheme.
STS replaced the Socialized Tuition Fee Assistance Program (STFAP), UP’s 23-year old bracketing system and scholarship assistance program which determined students’ socio-economic standing and respective tuition rates.
According to UP President Alfredo Pascual, STS aims to address the gaps previously identified in STFAP, including the tedious application process and the ‘inaccuracies’ of the old bracketing system.
However, when the UP administration recently released the results of the STS online application, many UP students complained they have been misassessed. They said they were assigned to a higher bracket – this means they will be paying a higher tuition rate.
In UP, students who fall under Bracket A are required to pay P1500 per unit while those under Bracket E enjoy free tuition.
But the UP administration insisted that STS produced the desired results.
As of June 30, about 36,000 students from the various UP campuses applied for STS, 40% higher from STFAP’s average application rate.
The UP administration also claim that close to 52% of STS applicants were categorized in the 4 lowest brackets (Brackets C, D, E, and E2) and are therefore expected to enjoy 60-100% tuition discounts. The figure is higher than the 31% of STFAP applicants who enjoyed the same tuition discounts.
Under the STFAP, there were 12,259 students who were assigned in Brackets C, D, E1 and E2. In the STS, 17,140 students were assigned to similar discount ranges and benefits – showing an increase of 40% in beneficiaries.
The percentage of students who are in the high paying brackets (Brackets A and B) also significantly decreased – from 69% to 48% – under the STS.
The STS, according to UP System STS Director Richard Gonzalo generated more applications. From the usual 2 to 12 months length for processing, STS only took two weeks to process the online applications.
The increase in the number of students who will enjoy tuition discounts from 33%- 100% is most noticeable in UP Baguio (182 to 1,148 students), UP Visayas (1,732 to 2,483 students), UP Cebu (594 to755 students), and UP Los Banos (4,657 to 6,139) students.
In a press statement, Pascual added that students who encounter financial difficulties during enrolment can get a loan from the Student Loan Board. Through the Executive Order No. PAEP 13-14 in May 2013, students can avail of a grant loan to cover 100% of their tuition and miscellaneous fees.
The UP administration is also accepting appeals.
Students who feel that their STS classification is incorrect can file an appeal at the helpdesk of their constituent university. Helpdesk contact information is available at the STS website. – Rappler.com
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