The new academic year begins for De La Salle Lipa (DLSL) on pins and needles as students and parents question several school fee components in the breakdown of miscellaneous fees which were not included in the assessment forms and were only disclosed last. Aug. 8, after the official enrollment period.
Concerns over the “confidential” breakdown of miscellaneous fees and several school fee components not needed in online learning are being called out by a number of students and parents as a lack of transparency on the part of the school.
The detailed breakdown of miscellaneous fees, each of which were watermarked with the name of the section it was given to, was distributed with a note strictly saying that students were not allowed to publicly share the information and should only disseminate them through group chats and private messages.
With no explanation attached in the assessment form prior to the release of the breakdown, Jezzy Ann Sarroza, a third year BS Nursing student, called for clearer explanations, voicing her unease of not knowing where her tuition will go.
“We need transparency, kasi yes, mahal [ang] tuition as expected sa nursing course, pero to think na hindi namin alam kung para saan, kahit nga sa miscellaneous fee ‘di namin alam kung pano kino-compute,” Sarroza said.
Wilma Sanggalang, mother of a first year BS Electrical Engineering student, also shared the same concern and said, “It’s our obligation to pay what the school requires, but [we] need to know what we are going to pay for.”
Delayed miscellaneous fee breakdown
When the assessment forms for the semester were released prior to enrollment, students were quick to observe that the stipulated fees were not detailed and no breakdown of miscellaneous fees was included.
According to Shaine Lynne Andrei Uy, executive secretary of the Student Government (SG), they were not given an exact reason as to why the breakdown of fees was not immediately disclosed in their meeting with the school administration last Aug. 7, except that they were aware that inclusion of some fees was repeatedly checked with respective offices before being released.
Karl Adrian Tolentino, executive president of SG, added, “Upon po namin i-raise ang concern, ang sabi nila [is] they are still waiting for the approval of the Brother President [Dante Jose Amisola] before daw po nila i-release for us, for the students.”
By the time the breakdown of fees was released, a number of students like Kyla Marnella Mauleon, a third year BS Tourism Management student, had already paid her tuition and fees in full for the semester.
“We already paid for the tuition fee [in full] and we just tried to understand considering it [breakdown of miscellaneous fees] was released late,” Mauleon said.
Apart from confidentiality purposes, Tolentino said they were told in a previous meeting with the Vice Chancellor for Academics, the Finance Department and other concerned partners that competitors were also a concern
“Ang sinabi nila is we do have competitors din po diyan na mga ibang school so ‘yun din po. Kaya medyo hindi po nila pinaparelease publicly daw ‘yung mga ganoong details,” he said.
Last Aug. 15, SG announced through Facebook that the breakdown of miscellaneous fees has been disclosed through Canvas but the exact date when it was published in the said platform is unknown.
As of press time, the Finance Resource Department (FRD) and Vice Chancellor for Academics (VCA) have been unavailable to provide more information regarding this issue.
Miscellaneous fee breakdown
Amounting to a total of Php 10,310 for the school year, the released breakdown of miscellaneous fees stipulated payments for new services such as Home Internet Support, Multi Media Center Fee and Processing Fee.
For Gian Carlo Robledo, a third year BS Psychology student, the inclusion of such fees is understandable but the breakdown of fees should still be explained and released without delay in the future.
“It’s also necessary to consider the school needs to sustain other financial aspects that would also be beneficial for the students […] but with other fees na hindi naman talaga essential at gaanong mapakikinabangan ngayon, kailangan talagang maclarify ‘yun,” Robledo said.
In response to this, Tolentino said that the school offered Home Internet Support to give students the option to avail of a pocket WiFi but that the institution will not cover its load.
On the other hand, Uy explained the Multi Media Center Fee covered costs incurred from investing in equipment and renovating the Multimedia Hub which, in previous years, did not have a permanent office.
“Hindi natin pwede i-stop ang payment doon […] dahil may mga binabayad noon na nagamit na natin [like cables, projectors and speakers] before pa siya mabayadan fully,” Uy said.
In addition, she shared the processing fee will cover more convention and accessible modes of payment such as DragonPay.
Meanwhile, Tolentino said that other components like the campus sustainability and resource utilization fee were not discussed to them in detail, which, to his understanding, is due to the unavailability of the concerned offices.
Concerns on laboratory fees
With the shift to a full online setup, laboratory fees which utilize physical equipment and facilities provided by the institution within campus became a cause of concern as they will not be accessible to students.
In response, Uy said that the college governors have already reached out to the deans and department chairs to determine the use of these fees and to settle if they can still be decreased.
“Wino-work on ng governors natin kung mababawasan ba or kung bakit ganoon para lang at least alam ng students na magbabayad ng lab fee kung bakit mayroon silang lab fee,” said Uy.
As of press time, the breakdown and computation of the laboratory tuition fee for each program and year level under the College of Information Technology and Engineering (CITE) has already been posted on their Facebook page.
However, according to Allen Paolo De Silva, SG CITE governor, detailed information on their college’s laboratory fees have yet to be released as they are still waiting for the permission of their dean in light of possible changes.
Meanwhile, the College of International Hospitality and Tourism Management (CIHTM) has also disclosed that laboratory fees for BS Hospitality Management and Certificate in Culinary Arts are waived and shall be charged to the school since a remote laboratory will be used exclusively by professors for online demonstrations.
The College of Nursing (CON), through Facebook postings, has also stated that their clinical fee will not be used this semester since student interns will not carry on with their hospital duties.
Dale Fernan Castillo, SG CON governor, cleared that even though this particular fee won’t be returned, it will be considered an advance payment for future hospital duties once they can be resumed.
On the other hand, details for the laboratory fees for programs under the College of Education, Arts and Sciences (CEAS) remain unavailable to the public as of press time though CEAS students themselves have already been informed through a Google Drive link only they are allowed to access.
Reinalene Karikitan, SG CEAS governor said, “As much as possible, when the information is only about our college then only the CEAS community should be able to access the documents and announcements regarding that matter.”
The College of Business, Economics, Accountancy and Management (CBEAM) remains the only college without laboratory fees, since according to Dheine Louise Maderazo, SG CBEAM governor, they will not pay this year for the Bloomberg Financial Markets Lab, the platform which allows their students to learn stock market trading and business analytics.
On the other hand, Darlyn Almazan, a second year BS Biology student, shared her dissatisfaction and said that in her opinion, it doesn’t make sense to charge students with laboratory fees.
“It’s disappointing since sinama nila ‘yun [fees] para ma-preserve ‘yung [lab] equipment. But the fact is, students are paying for the current semester. Hindi kami nagbabayad para i-preserve ‘yung mga gamit na hindi namin alam kung kailan namin magagamit,” said Almazan.
To address grievances and questions from students and parents, Tolentino ensured that SG has plans and initiatives underway that they are still finalizing with other organizations.
He added that students should feel free to approach SG for their concerns, emphasizing that they should help one another.