Is education at PUP still for the poor?

“Although the tuition has not increased, with the additional fees being imposed other than the miscellaneous fees we pay every enrollment, studying even at PUP is becoming more expensive.”

MAIN STORY | Education becoming more prohibitive as more schools to hike tuition, fees


MANILA – Paulo Mantua, 18, second year History major student at the Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP) is an only child. His mother works as a domestic worker, earning a measly income. That is why he enrolled at the PUP to be able continue his studies. But even then, Mantua said, PUP has becoming costly for students like him.

“Lately there are additional fees that were imposed by the school administration. Although the tuition has not increased, with the additional fees being imposed other than the miscellaneous fees we pay every enrollment, studying even at PUP is becoming more expensive,” Mantua told Mantua is also a member of PUP’s student organization Sandigan ng mga Mag-aaral para sa Sambayanan (Samasa).

The PUP is a state-run university that has been a go-to school for the poor majority. “Students in our university are children of farmers, workers, and those who are from the informal sectors. Some of them came from the provinces also,” Mantua told

But, Mantua said, because of the insufficient budget of the university, the school administration has to charge more fees to augment the funds of the university. According to Mantua, the fees he paid amounted to P500 ($11.10) during academic year 2012-2013; it now amounted to more than P700 ($15.54) for the second semester of academic year 2013-2014.

Fees, fees, fees

According to the National Union of Students in the Philippines (NUSP), since the budget for state universities and colleges are inadequate, school administrators have been trying to generate income by imposing different fees aside from miscellaneous fees.

For example, the sports development fee being collected by PUP increased from P97 ($2.15) to P150 ($3.33). Still, athletes of PUP are not being provided with uniforms. “The administration’s alibi is that the procurement is slow.” Mantua said the PUP main campus in Sta. Mesa, Manila alone is able to collect P21 million ($466,063.89) per year from the sports development fee.

The PE uniform fee amounting to P305 ($6.77) became mandatory for first year students in academic year 2013-2014.

“It is already the second semester and first year students have not yet received their uniforms. During our dialogue with the school administration we asked about the uniforms they just said there have been problems in the bidding process.”

The PUP also collects a Student Information System fee amounting to P225 ($4.99) per semester. PUP President Emanuel De Guzman reportedly said, during a consultation with the students in 2013, that the SIS is the university’s biggest income-generating project and thus will not be junked. The SIS is a system being used by PUP system wide students for online registration.

Students are also questioning the collection of other fees like Cultural fee amounting to P11 ($.24) and Alumni Insurance fee amounting to P8 ($.18).

Students in other colleges such as the College of Hospitality and Tourism Transportation Management pay an energy fee amounting to P800 ($17.75) per semester.

Higher tuition in Institute of Technology

The Institute of Technology at PUP charges a higher tuition of P250 ($5.55) per unit, according to Jess Ferrera, 21, fourth year Journalism student, vice president of the PUP Central Student Council and vice chairman of Student Council Assembly. A student of Institute of Technology pays at least P8,000 ($177.55) per semester. The Institute of Technology offers technical vocational courses of two to three years only.

“Students at this college are not rich and yet they pay a higher tuition. It is much like a private school being operated inside a state university,” she told in an interview.

Students in the college also pay a library fee amounting to P200 ($4.44) per semester. But according to Ferrera, there is no library in the said college.

With the exorbitant fees being imposed at the CCIS, Ferrera said, some students had to stop studying. But, according to Ferrera, this does not only happen at the CCIS. Ferrera said in their journalism class alone, 18 students have dropped out. She also expressed her fear that she may have to drop out too if the PUP continues to charge higher and more fees. Ferrera’s parents are both minimum wage earners. She has one sister who is studying at a private school.

“There is always the fear that maybe one day I may not be able to continue with my studies because education even in a public school like ours is getting expensive. But we know our right and we will fight for it,” she told (

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