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Fighting tuition fee increase
March 7th, 2008 posted by erwinilao under Alumni Stories, Campus Issues, Opinion

I sat up for hours last night thinking about my dear Adamson University, and the looming dialogue on tuition fee increases that is about to transpire in the coming months. I recalled how we handled it during my term and was able to bring down the TFI from the proposed 12% to 6% in the school year 1995-1996. And then a thought occurred to me, that if the current AUSG is not preparing for the dialogue that is about to come, they will not have a chance of winning the argument. So for those in the student body, allow me to give in my dibs and unsolicited advice on how to present a valid and compelling argument against TFI.

From the point of view of the administration, the TFI is an accepted fact of running a business for reasons of competitiveness and economics. Students need high quality teachers and there is no way to retain them if they do not get paid well. The facilities needed maintenance and the only way to do that is to spend. New equipment needs to be purchased and upgrading old computers also will cost money.

From the point of view of the Faculty, raising tuition fees is justified simply because they need it to cover their adjusting cost of living. Without increasing fees, there is no way they could get a pro-rated amount of increase to cover the labor contracts they already entered into thereby guaranteeing a stable raise in income. For them, the students’ families can bear the brunt of tuition hikes since they have already done so for a number of years. It is expected in an inflating economy that education expenses share the bulk since education is an investment that will hopefully pay off in the long run. The teachers would normally be sharing the same view as that of the Administrator, that every year expenses go up and so does salaries and operating costs.

So that leaves the AUSG, the sole legal representative of the studentry in these proceeedings, virtually alone in the stand against TFI. They will have to come up with a strong presentation of ideas that will negate if not neutralize these points. The only thing that could save them is good research and a strong negotiating skill. These are the things they would have to do:

1. Present to the group a reasonable scenario proving that TFI is not necessary, and

2. Convince the conniving factions that TFI is not beneficial.

The AUSG has about fifteen minutes to deliver the presentation, after the University Controller submits the projected Financial Budget for the coming year. In order to come up with a strong position, they would have to weaken the position of the Administration by questioning all the entries in the proposed budget. They should look at redundant entries, unreasonable budget allocation, unexplained accounting items, promises made over the years that were not delivered, wasteful spending and other financial allocation that does not make sense. The outlook of the team when they pore over these documents should be to make every bit of entry justified. If not, the AUSG should come up with a reversal of the specific item thus bringing down projected costs. A review of the actual Financial Statement of the Admin will also be made available for them to scrutinize. If they compare what is current versus what is projected for next year, they will be able to find a lot of things that are not justified and should therefore not be included in the budget.

And this is just the preliminaries. It usually takes four meetings in a span of three months to settle this issue. And this is when the AUSG will prove to be strong. For in these coming months, the graduating officers of the AUSG will have left the campus life behind, with nary a care as to what the students will pay for in the coming year. They would be busy looking for jobs in a crazy society where all their ideals will be crushed. This happens every year and this is a reality that the AUSG will have to face. It would take commitment from the leadership of the AUSG to attend every dialogue and attempt to strengthen their position. They usually forfiet this chance of a mediation by the Alumni, when the radical of the factions will resort to street demonstrations and leave the negotiating table behind. This happens because it is easy to shout than to listen. If this year will be an exception, then I have high hopes that any TFI would be justified.

A rationalization of fee increases usually come with a solid set of numbers. Data that shows inflation rates, purchasing power of the peso, median income of average Adamsonian families, economic indicators such as GDP and minimum wages, labor conditions, and comparative rates of increases of all Universities in the area, will be useful in presenting a valid case. The bulk of any argument in this scenario should be quantitative and so a consultant like an economics professor may come in handy.

More than the numbers, an argument based on the qualitative merits of any increase should also be given. How are the facilities nowadays? What more do we need to be competitive? Where does Adamson want to go? Is this in the same spirit of the Founding Fathers? Is the poor well reached out? These and more questions dealing with the essence of Adamson University as a non-profit, Catholic institution, will help bolster that AUSG stance that it is not necessary and beneficial to increase fees from a specific percentage to the proposed. And this is where lies all true wisdom…the AUSG needs to come up with a number other than ZERO!

Based on experience, leading students in the fight against TFI can be troublesome. Most radical leaders think that it is brave to say they do not want an increase. They feel that it would be a sell off to agree to a certain number. So most of them carry the fight to the streets and forego the process. They do not realize that had they done their research and met with the opposition in a spirit of dialogue, they would have a winning situation.

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Tags: Adamsonian, Adamson+University, tuition+fee+increase

About the author: 1990 - Freshman belonging to a seminary called the Marian Missionaries of the Holy Cross. The very first student to run out of St. Vincent's Bldg. from the Registrar's office when the violent earthquake of 1990 began. 1992 - Fresh out of the seminary and back to the corridors of the institution. Feeling the need to belong to something or someone. That was when I found SAMAKA. 1993 - Elected President of the College of Liberal Arts, really did nothing but hung out with Morfe, Echauz, Mercado and the Filipinism ideologue. Most were SI Fraternity members. 1994 - Got tired of student politics and joined the MASP, a popular group of Student Speech instructors who knew how to clean tables and do teachers' errands. At least we got paid and I got to "own" the Speech Lab off the 2nd floor of the ST bldg. 1995 - Elected as President of the Adamson University Student Government (AUSG). The election was a landslide courtesy of a no-show opponent, a dysfunctional left-winger, an ambitious "speaker", and my being a popular student teacher. Not that I did not deserve the position at that time. My term was the most peaceful the last fifteen years prior. Here are My Achievements: - Minimal pillboxes thrown off the campus since I keep them in my Cabinet at the AUSG office., - Less frat wars since I attended their drinking sprees in front of Cardinal bldg., - A more religious contribution from the AUSG, never before done, during the celebration of World Youth Day - More parties or celebrations like a week-long festivity during the Student Week, a College Student Government celebration, a fund-raising dance party for Lahar victims and other sorties we would not mention. I am glad I was part of this institution. I am proud to say that it was because of ADU that I am who I turned out to be. For more of me, visit

erwinilao has blogged 16 posts

Read the Comments

[ # 1895 ] Comment from Ramon Millonte [March 7, 2008, 3:31 am]

ito’y dapat mabasa ng kasalukuyang ausg…

[ # 1903 ] Comment from erwinilao [March 8, 2008, 5:11 pm]

magbabakasyon na yata silang lahat. yung iba graduating na. sorry na lang.

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