Students question mandatory 17K down payment upon enrollment

The first day of enrolment for school year 2019 – 2020 was met with complaints from Lasallians for not being informed of the P10,000 increase in the down payment for college tuition fees, July 29.

From a previous initial down payment of P7,000, enrollees now have to pay P17,000.  

The De La Salle Lipa (DLSL) Finance Resource Department (FRD) confirmed that the increase was a prerogative decision made by the administration based on the tuition and fees consultation in the previous academic year.

According to Luz Magpantay, FRD manager, the P7,000 enrollment fee had been imposed since the early 2000s when the tuition fees were still ranging from P20,000 to P30,000.

“Over the years, nag-iincrease tayo ng tuition pero ‘yung down payment natin ay hindi nag-iincrease. It was a management decision to increase the down payment, kasi other schools require 50% down payment, pero kami ay naiwan kami doon sa P7,000,” Magpantay said.

Information gap

The FRD assumed that new policy was already known to the students since the proposal of the 10% tuition hike in January of last year and that they were expecting students to be informed of the policy through the printing of their assessment form.

However, students expressed their surprise to a screenshot message from the Student Government that circulated in social media confirming a P17,000 downpayment a day before the enrollment.

“Kung kailan kaorasan ay tsaka nila kami binigla na P17,000 agad na isang bagsakan. For me, hindi naging maganda dahil madaming students ang nag-rant at nagalit kasi di kami nakapag-prepare. Nagulat kami, within one day saan kami kukuha ng P17,000,” Alden Javier, second-year Bachelor of Multimedia Arts student, said.

Alden Javier, second-year MMA student, voices out his hope that the institution is using the funds in developing the school facilities in lieu to the sudden increase of down payment (Photo by Jona Bondad).

Magpantay said that she was not quite sure if the new policy was clearly conveyed to the Student Government (SG) of the previous academic year during the tuition and fees consultation due to a heavier focus on the debate against the 10% tuition hike.

“During the tuition fee consultation in our term, we have tapped the topic on possible increase in the down payment for the next enrollment but we haven’t had a follow-up meeting with them about the specific amount and their plans,” Christine Perez, former SG executive president, said.

According to Perez, the administration said that there will be a possibility of increase on down payment but the admin did not give the exact amount or range of increase.

“Hindi sila nagbigay ng warning na P10,000 ang itataas. Ang expected lang namin nung meeting was like P7,000 to P10,000 ang downpayment pero hindi [additional] P10,000,” Perez added.  

On the other hand, the FRD manager explained that students who were not fully informed of the new policy may still process their enrollment. 

“Hindi naman natin nirerequire ang mga bata na magbayad ng down payment upon printing ng assessment form dahil may grace period pa naman kayo (students) hanggang August 10 before the start of classes so that you can also explain to your parents,” Magpantay said.

College students on their first day of enrollment  in line to claim their assessment forms, July 29 (Photo by Jona Bondad).

The FRD Manager also assured the enrollees that they will still be accommodated for enrollment if they were not able to bring the required deposit through submitting a promissory note.

“To address the concern na hindi naipaalam sa lahat na nag-increase na ang down payment, may P.N. [promissory note] tayo. Kung talagang nagpipilit kahit P7,000 ang dala, ina-accommodate ko kahit estudyante ang nagawa,” Magpantay added.

According to the FRD manager, the increase in the enrollment fees will also help the parents in lessening the amount to be paid for the midterm and final examinations.

The 20% of the population of the institution fully pays for their tuition and fees upon enrollment to avail the 5% discount, added by the FRD.

No tuition fee increase

Magpantay also confirmed that the school received the approval on the zero increase in fees for the college department from the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) last July 12.

Instead of complaining, Magpantay urged students to be considerate and to be thankful for the zero increase. 

“We are not receiving a ‘thank you’ for Br. Dante sa no-tuition-fee-increase. We should thank Br. Dante kasi he commited na ‘wag magkaroon ng tuition fee increase sa college department,” the FRD manager added.

Tracking the previous academic year tuition and fees consultation, SG stood firm against the proposal of the administration to post a 10% tuition fee hike in the inflationary and compensatory increase for specific degree programs.

Second year Psychology student, Andrea Nicole Ona, speaks about her confusion with the breakdown of her fees for her program (Photo by Jona Bondad).

However, Magpantay emphasized that there will be an increase as per CHED for the mandatory drug-testing fee for all students, a Bloomberg fee for business students and the accidental insurance fee. 

On the other hand, according to the FRD, the confirmation that there will be a zero percent increase in the schedule of tuition and fees for the college department has yet to be announced formally due to the recentness of the CHED approval.

With reports from Joshua Perez and Lillian Margaret Viñas

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