(previous Blogger post, November 28, 2006, Tuesday)

It turns out that STFAP (Socialized Tuition and Financial Assistance Program) has indeed been revised to adapt to the proposed tuition fee increase. I hope this is really true. I am posting part of Solita Monsod’s column in the Philippine Daily Inquirer (November 18, 2006 issue):

“In the first place, as noted above, nominal family incomes between 1989 and the present have more than tripled. Secondly, thanks to a “new” STFAP (formulated by a three-person committee headed by the UP School of Economics’ Manny Esguerra) which, as per the De Dios’ committee recommendations, is to accompany the proposed tuition rate changes, what actually happens is the following:

Entering students (starting in school year 2007) whose families are in the bottom 36 percent of families as far as income is concerned (annual incomes of P70,000 or less), Bracket E, have free tuition plus a monthly [my note: this is probably an error; it’s more likely to be PER SEMESTER] stipend of P12,000.

Those whose family incomes are above the 36th percentile and up to the 67th percentile (annual income of P70,001-P135,000), Bracket D, will enjoy a tuition discount of 70 percent, meaning to say that their tuition rates will remain at P300 per unit

Those whose family incomes are above the 67th percentile up to the 97th percentile (annual income of P135,001-P500,000), Bracket C, will be given a 40 percent discount.

In other words, only those entering students whose family incomes are between P500,001 and P1 million will actually be paying the full tuition of P1,000 per credit unit. And by the way, in the true spirit of socialization, those who belong to families with incomes over P1 million a year are going to have to pay full cost or near full-cost tuition — P1,500 per credit unit. They don’t deserve to be subsidized by the Filipino people, and they will not be subsidized.”

Read the full column here .

I am very happy with this proposal. Now, I just wish that UP administration would make a big effort to publicize this. All I see in the news is about the tuition fee increase only. Instead of merely telling the protesters to read the proposal first, UP officials should make this proposal readily available (as in distribute flyers, etc. if need be), highlighting the new STFAP mechanics. UP students are reasonable and intelligent. They will see the merits of the proposal. The next step then is to ensure proper implementation. That will be another story for another time.

FOR NOW, I am backing down from the tuition fee increase issue. However, I still – and will always – stand by my view on government subsidy of state universities.