MANILA, Philippines - Four students of University of the Philippines Manila who were initially barred from graduating for failing to pay tuition on time were allowed to settle their financial obligations and attend the commencement rites this month.
Former student regent Cleve Arguelles, in a message to The STAR Tuesday, said he and the other senior political science students Mark Policarpio, Mark Quinto and Christian Durana will be considered for graduation.
“Although we are happy, we will continue to call for the repeal of the ‘no late tuition’ policy as this might still affect other students in the future,” Arguelles said.
UP Manila public affairs director Tony Leachon said the four students will be included in the list of candidates for graduation that will be deliberated upon by the university council on April 15.
The commencement exercises of UP Manila is set on April 25.
No late tuition policy scrapped
UP vice president for public affairs Prospero de Vera, citing recent amendments to the university code, said yesterday that the “no late tuition” policy has been scrapped.
He said the university has committed that no qualified student shall be denied access to education due to financial incapacity.
In March, UP president Alfredo Pascual ordered the lifting of the no late tuition policy following the death of student Kristel Tejada, who committed suicide after she was allegedly forced to take a leave of absence for failing to pay her tuition.
The UP Board of Regents (BOR) approved in December the revision to the university code, which provides that a student who is unable to pay tuition may apply for and shall be granted loan of up to 100 percent without interest if paid in the next four months.
The revision also provides that the registration process will only be completed after the student has applied for the loan, which will have an interest of six percent per annum unless it is paid within four months.
The student will also be allowed by the university to apply for loans for three consecutive semesters upon the submission of an appeal letter duly attested by his or her parent, guardian or professor.
“So that the student does not incur further loans from the Student Loan Board, the concerned constituent university shall assist the student find the appropriate solution, for example, through scholarship, grant-in-aid, student assistantship, study-now-pay-later plan (if available) and/or re-bracketing under the Socialized Tuition System 2013,” the revision to the code added.
Before the approval to the amendments, however, the four UP Manila students were not able to pay their tuition on time and opted not to apply for a loan.
While they were allowed by the university to attend classes and complete their requirements, they said that they were initially not allowed by the university to settle their financial obligations and attend graduation.
“(They said) it will violate the no late payment policy and our case might also set a precedent for other students,” said Arguelles, who had an outstanding balance of around P15,000.
De Vera said the issue may have stemmed from the fact that the BOR has approved the revisions to the code in December, or a month after the start of the semester.
He said the administration would implement the revised code in the next enrollment.