Govt. & Taxes, Philippines

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

On tuition fee hike in UP

There's a proposal to raise tuition and other school fees in the University of the Philippines (UP). Currently, Diliman's fee per unit is P 300. Proposed is P 1,000. For Visayas, current tuition fee per unit is P 200. Proposed is P600.Those affected by the proposal, if it pushes through by AY2007-2008, will be only the entering freshmen and transferees. Old students will pay the old tuition rates. Also, the miscellaneous fees will be adjusted. In the Visayas, fromP595 to P1,405.

I support this proposal. UP should not wait nor demand for another tax hike or new tax measures to finance its increasing needs for finances. And yes, part of the proceeds of tuition hikes is to expand scholarships for needy UP students.

Let's not take from the pockets of other taxpayers their additional needs for their tertiary schooling. Why do students from USC, UV, UE, UST, NCBA, etc. they go on with zero subsidy from taxpayers? We should not give the bureaucrats and politicians additional ammunitions why they should raise VAT or income tax or excise tax or franchisetax.... because the "student militants from UP and other state Us are demanding additional subsidy from the state".

A friend argued that what government needs is prioritize the budget, and UP should be among the priorities. I say that everyone in government -- from barangay officials to provincial capitol employees to congressional staff to public school teachers to retired soldiers to students and faculty of Cagayan State U and UP to patients and medical staff of Heart Center, etc. -- will tell you that their job and "entitlement" is important and hence, they too deserve higher subsidy, higher annual budget.

I would say that because of their fixation that they are "entitled" to higher subsidies, then most if not all of them couldnt care less if government will raise taxes and fees (from passport fees to driver's license fees). If we pamper to this kind of mentality, then we're pampering a culture of dependence and irresponsibility. That is, some guys should work their butts out and others will just rally and demand for bigger subsidies.

For this, I will have more respect to students (and their parents) in private universities and schools. Life goes on with them -- they work hard, they spend hard, and expect as little dependence from other taxpayers, and give as little credit to policians and bureaucrats.

And ultimately, UP should be privatized.
Only 1 1/2 years to go and UP will be a century old.And through all those years, UP has been almost a mendicant every year to DBM, Malacanang, HOR and Senate. UP's administrators visit these offices every year almost begging that the university's budget be increased, or at least not be slashed further.

So, because the politicians and bureaucrats control UP's annual finances, government makes sure that their officials and hand-picked people dominate the BOR.

Education, especially tertiary education, is a private good, not "public good".
If a UP alumni (or alumni of other state universities) would immediately pack their bags and work abroad after graduating from the university, can the taxpayers -- especially from the private sector -- who paid for their subsidized education stop them and tell them, "Hoy mokong, buwan-buwan akong kinakaltasan ng witholding tax, partly para pag-aralin ka, tapos tatakas ka na lang at magpakaligaya sa ibang bansa?" Or "hoy kulukoy, malaki kinakaltas na buwis sa akin, partly para pag-aralin ka, ikaw naman pa-drop-drop lang ng subjects at pabalik-balik taun-taon, patuloy pagbigay ng subsidies sayo?" No way man!

So, what's the point of large-scale income confiscation by the state to subsidize a service that is essentially a private good?

Of course you do not stop from privatizing a state university.
You also call for some tax cut to give relief to the over-burdened taxpayers, especially fixed-income earners.And you devise other alternatives to "cross subsidy education", like an expanded study-now-pay-later, or an expanded scholarship for the really needy students.

Anyway, since UP privatization is next to impossible now, a full deregulation of UP's tuition and other school fees should be done. At least UP should aspire for at most 15-20% dependence on state subsidy, vs. the current 85% dependence, I think.