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UNIVERSITY OF THE PHILIPPINES

Proposal to Revise the STFAP and Student Financial Assistance Services of UP

Draft Document

Prepared by Asst. Prof. Richard Philip Gonzalo

1/25/2013

The Proposal to revise the STFAP and Financial Assistance Services of UP is based on insights of the UP President, the VPAA, and the OSSS and OSA personnel, taken from numerous workshops and consultations held from 2011 to 2012. This document is prepared by Asst. Prof. Richard Philip Gonzalo (former OIC of the OSSS, UP Diliman), with Dr. Corazon Abansi (OSA Director, UP Baguio), Dr. Leticia Afuang (OSA Director, UP Los Baños), Dr. Evelina Ayson (OSA Director, UP Mindanao), Prof. Ruben Gamala (OSA Director, UP Visayas), Dr. Honey Libertine Labor (OSA Director, UP Manila), Dr. Jonifer Sinogaya (OSA Director, UP Cebu), and Prof. Ma. Corazon Tan (VCSA, UP Diliman). The author also acknowledges the contribution of Cleve Arguelles (SR), the different personnel from the OSSS and OSAs of each CU, and student representatives from the different USCs.

CONTENTS

FIGURES AND TABLES

2

PROJECT

BACKGROUND

3

 

3

History of STFAP

3

5

 

UP as a National Model

9

REFORM PROPOSAL

10

Reform Vision

10

Reform

Principles

11

Reform Strategies

11

 

Overview of STFAP

11

STFAP

Brackets

11

STFAP Benefits

16

20

Internal

Control

28

Support system

32

Revisions in other financial assistance programs

45

Implementation

46

50

FIGURES AND TABLES

Table 1: STFAP Fees and Benefits (Gonzalo, Financial Assistance Primer, 2012)

5

Table 2: Conversion of SEC Clusters to ABS STFAP Brackets

15

15

Table 4: Proposed STFAP Bracket Assignment based on SEC clusters

16

Table 5: Iskolar ng Bayan Program Benefits (UP Board of Regents, 1990)

17

Table 6: Proposed STFAP Benefit Structure

18

23

Table 8: MORES SEC Instrument Content

27

36

Table 10: OSA/OSSS Budget for UP Baguio, UP Cebu, UP Diliman, and UP Los Baños

38

Table 11: OSA Budget for UP Manila, UP Mindanao, and UP Visayas

39

Table 12: STFAP activities from February to January

41

Table 13: Scholarship, Loans, and Student Assistantship Activities from February to

42

Table 14: Schedule of Implementation Activities and other STFAP activities for AY 2013-2014

47

Figure 1: Annual Number of STFAP Applicants from all UP constituent universities (Source: UP Office of

Scholarships and Student Services, 2012)

8

Office of Scholarships and Student Services)

9

Figure 4: Household Income and Expenditure corresponding to each SEC Cluster (MORES & National

Statistics Office, 2012)

14

21

22

Figure 7: UP units administering the STFAP and other student financial assistance programs

33

Figure 8: Proposed OSSS Organizational Structure

43

Figure 9: Proposed OSA Organizational Structure

44

PROJECT BACKGROUND

Overview of UP Student Financial Assistance Programs

The Student Financial Assistance Programs of the University of the Philippines (UP) are administered by the Office of Scholarships and Student Services (OSSS) of UP Diliman and the Office of Student Affairs (OSAs) of the following constituent Universities (CUs):

I.

UP Baguio

II.

UP Cebu

III.

UP Los Baños

IV.

UP Manila

V.

UP Mindanao

VI.

UP Visayas

Together with representatives of University Student Councils (USCs) from the six (6) CUs, the UP Student Regent, and the Vice-Chancellor for Student Affairs (VCSA) of UP Diliman, the directors of the OSSS and OSAs form the University Committee on Scholarships and Financial Assistance (UCSFA). The UCSFA is led by the Vice-President for Academic Affairs (VPAA) (Gonzalo, University of the Philippines Student Financial Assistance Primer, 2012).

The present student financial assistance programs offered the OSSS and the OSAs can be classified into three components:

I.

Programs that provide additional subsidy for tuition and school fees at the start of the

II.

semester; Programs that provide living allowance on a monthly, or per semester basis; and

III.

Programs that defer cash payments to different periods during the semester (UP Office of Scholarships and Student Services, 2012)

History of STFAP

Over several decades, UP has offered numerous financial assistance programs through the different offices of the University. Before the 1990s, UP had established the Student Loan Program, the Grants-in- Aid Program, and the Experimental Democratization Scholarship Program. Private scholarship programs were also created which allowed donors to grant benefits to qualified and deserving UP students.

During the 1018 th meeting of the Board of Regents (BOR), the Socialized Tuition and Financial Assistance Program (STFAP) was approved. The STFAP, which took effect in the 1 st semester of AY 1989-1990, was considered “part of UP’s effort to democratize access and admission to its academic programs and promote fairness and social justice in the University, benefiting its status as a State-supported institution of higher learning.” (UP Board of Regents, 2006). The STFAP assigned UP students to nine (9) income groups which awarded tuition discounts and a range of subsidies for miscellaneous fees, living and book allowances. Dubbed as the Iskolar ng Bayan Program, the STFAP was further refined to offer the following:

Socialized Tuition, which is based on on the student’s financial need and their capacity to pay;

Scholarships, which grant living and book subsidies based on both financial need and academic

performance; Student Assistantships, which is part-time work given to student from low-income families; and

Supplemental subsidies for the mostneedy students, subject to the availability of funding, and number of slots in the residence halls (UP Board of Regents, 1989).

The installation of the STFAP was considered an ambitious program which brought about complex problems after its implementation (Veneracion, 2009). The program was intended to make UP education viable for many students who had been granted admission. Although some students benefited from the new policies, the STFAP’s implementation also led to low-income students being pushed into higher brackets and for several of them to lose their grants due to poor academic performance (Lorenzo-Abrera, 2009).

In its 1216 th meeting in 2006, the BOR adopted the report of a committee to review the STFAP. The report contained a proposed STFAP structure to accompany the proposed increase in tuition fees, and matters related to its implementation (UP Board of Regents, 2006). Unlike the original STFAP, the new STFAP would assign tuition subsidy in five (5) brackets: A, B, C, D, & E. Under this scheme, a student’s eligibility to receive additional subsidy is determined based on: (1) individual or family characteristics closely related to income (such as educational attainment, employment status, occupation) and (2) various assets owned (real estate, private vehicle, household appliances) that may substantiate information given about income, or possibly give hints to unreported income (Atanacio, Esguerra, & Felix, 2006).

STFAP Alphabetic Bracketing System (ABS) Issues and Problems

At present, the STFAP has assigned UP students with different fees and benefits according to one of the six (6) brackets. This bracketing system, also known as the Alphabetic Bracketing System (ABS), assigns students to one of the following clusters: A, B, C, D, E1, & E2. The brackets are based on information about the applicants’ family income, family characteristics, and their households’ socio-economic indicators (UP Office of Scholarships and Student Services, 2012). Students who qualify for the program will enjoy the following fees and benefits

Table 1: STFAP Fees and Benefits (Gonzalo, Financial Assistance Primer, 2012)

BRACKETS

FEES AND BENEFITS

UP DILIMAN, MANILA, LOS BAÑOS

UP PAMPANGA, BAGUIO, VISAYAS, CEBU, MINDANAO

A

P1,500/unit plus P2,000 miscellaneous and laboratory fees

P1,000/unit plus P2,000 miscellaneous and laboratory fees

B

P1,000/unit plus P2,000 miscellaneous and laboratory fees

P600/unit plus P2,000 miscellaneous and laboratory fees

C

P600/unit plus P2,000 miscellaneous and laboratory fees

P400/unit plus P2,000 miscellaneous and laboratory fees

D

P300/unit plus P2,000 miscellaneous and laboratory fees

P200/unit plus P2,000 miscellaneous and laboratory fees

E1

Free tuition, miscellaneous and laboratory fees

Free tuition, miscellaneous and laboratory fees

E2

Free tuition, miscellaneous and laboratory fees plus P2,400 monthly stipend

Free tuition, miscellaneous and laboratory fees plus P2,400 monthly stipend

Since its implementation, issues have been raised regarding the effectiveness of the program as a means to improve the access of qualified students to UP education. Based on numerous consultations made by members of the UCSFA, the experiences of personnel from OSAs and the OSSS, and findings from various research initiatives on STFAP [ (Bawagan, Banez, & Adaro, 2012) & (Montevirgen, 2012)] and the OSSS (Sempio, 2011) (Magbata, 2010): the main problems identified with the current STFAP, which make a significant impact on the students’ decision on whether or not to enroll under the financial assistance program, are as follows:

I.

Long and tedious application process that students need to go through to apply for the

II.

STFAP; Lack of awareness of the STFAP processes and the related financial assistance programs;

III.

Questionable STFAP bracket assignments from the perceived mismatch between indicators

IV.

and the actual financial need of the students; and Limited extent of benefits from the STFAP and complementing financial assistance programs which are seen as inadequate to support living and academic requirements necessary to finish a degree in the University.

These problems stem from numerous resasons, specifically:

Intensive verification and correction during the early stages of STFAP processes which delay the

granting of benefits; Centralized processing of STFAP and scholarship requirements which further delays the

identification of beneficiaries and the granting of benefits; STFAP requirements, which are relatively costly and challenging to obtain, that discourage

financially needy students from applying in the program; Limited capacity of the OSAs and the OSSS to efficiently and effectively administer these programs. This is due to (a) very few OSA personnel providing services in CUs, (b) the lack of office space for planning functions, committee meetings, trainings, student consultations, and other STFAP and scholarship related activities, (c) the limited infrastructure to support OSSS and OSA projects and functions, such as home visits, and, (d) an insufficient budget to cover the administrative overhead of running the student financial assistance programs, and (e) the low morale of several employees from the lack of recognition of their actual functions since they were assigned to manage the STFAP in 1989;

Absence of an effective information system to allow OSAs and OSSS to properly assess student

o

o

o

performance and needs and to adequately advise financially challenged UP students so that they can apply for programs which match their needs; Ineffective STFAP bracket assignments brought about by current assignment parameters which

do not necessarily capture the students’ capacity to afford the cost of University education; Benefits which are not made to address differences in cost of living in different campuses. The

benefits must consider the following Cost of goods and other supplies, which may be cheaper in the provinces compared to

urban areas, Access to student housing, which are easy in to obtain in some campuses but are lacking

in others, and Capacity of students’ families to send their children to school, which vary among a wide

range of demographic attributes; and Limited network of donors, colleges, and UP units that limits the OSA’s and the OSSS’s capacity to encourage investment in scholarship programs and to disseminate the relevant information on financial assistance to students.

These issues need to be addressed as the number of UP students in need of financial assistance has grown since the increase in tuition in AY 2007-2008. The total number of students applying for tuition subsidies has steadily increased from AY2007-2008 to AY 2011-2012. This implies a growing need for programs that can support students when they enter UP every academic year (refer to Figure 1).

The increase in the first four (4) years in Figure 1 is expected as the ABS and the tuition increase had just been implemented during AY 2007-2008. Students who entered UP before AY 2007-2008 were not covered by the change in fees and the alphabetic STFAP scheme. The increase can be attributed to the entry of freshmen covered in the program. Given this relationship, the trend in AY 2011-2012 and AY 2012-2013 is expected to be flat since the majority of degree program offerings are four-year courses since the students covered by the STFAP take up four-year degree programs. However, OSSS data shows an increase in the number of STFAP applicants from all UP constituent universities during the last two (2) years.

Figure 1: Annual Number of STFAP Applicants from all UP constituent universities (Source: UP Office of Scholarships and Student Services, 2012)

14000 12000 10000 8000 6000 4000 2000 0 AY 2012- AY 2007- AY 2008- AY 2009-
14000
12000
10000
8000
6000
4000
2000
0
AY 2012-
AY 2007-
AY 2008-
AY 2009-
AY 2010-
AY 2011-
2013 (As
2008
2009
2010
2011
2012
of Nov
2012)
STFAP Applicants
3888
6095
8143
10335 12252
13253

Segmenting the data into brackets shows the need for financial assistance. Figure 2 shows the migration of STFAP applicants from high brackets to low brackets. This implies that many students enrolled between AY 2009-2010 and AY 2011-2012, who sought financial assistance from UP through the STFAP, have a reduced capacity to pay compared to those who applied in AY 2007-2008 and AY 2008-2009. When analyzed together with the growing number of STFAP applicants (as shown in Figure 1), this implies that there was an increase in the portion of the student population who sought more financial assistance from UP ..

Figure 2: Percentage Distribution of STFAP Applicants from all UP constituent universities (Source: UP Office of Scholarships and Student Services)

40% 39% 34% 19% 2011-2012 1% 8% 39% 34% 18% 2012-2013 (As of Nov 2012) 1%
40%
39%
34%
19%
2011-2012
1%
8%
39%
34%
18%
2012-2013 (As of Nov 2012)
1%
9%
8%
32%
18%
80%
70%
60%
50%
40%
30%
20%
10%
0%
10%
B
C
D
E
2007-2008
3%
12%
64%
15%
7%
2008-2009
1%
A
68%
15%
6%
2009-2010
1%
8%
40%
32%
19%
2010-2011
1%

UP as a National Model

The Commission on Higher Education (CHED) has laid out the Roadmap for Public Higher Education for 2011-2016 which aims to improve how State Universities and Colleges (SUCs) are run. The program proposes to include the implementation of a socialized tuition fee scheme, in line with the goal of rationalizing the resources of SUCs. This involves the installation of a generic socialized tuition fee scheme to be designed by 2013, and piloted in five (5) SUCs in 2014-2016. (Commission on Higher Education, 2012).

The model to be adopted by CHED may likely be similar to the scheme currently implemented by UP. With running the STFAP since 1989, UP has the experience and expertise in administering the socialized tuition fee scheme. The opportunity to assist CHED is at hand: the current STFAP can serve as a model that SUCs can adopt by AY 2014-2013. However, the present STFAP scheme needs to be revisited and further improved prior to the planned mainstreaming by CHED in order avoid the same issues that the University currently faces with the STFAP and its other student financial assistance programs.

REFORM PROPOSAL

Reform Vision

The Reform proposal aims to institute amendments to the STFAP, its related financial assistance programs, and their implementation. The proposal aims to change the way financial assistance programs are viewed in UP. If approved and implemented, the expected effects of these changes are as follows:

All UP undergraduate students will be covered by the STFAP and shall receive government subsidy as determined by their capacity to afford the cost of University education. In other words, UP students will not be charged in full or in part based on their income class but based on their means to pursue and finish their chosen degree programs. This entails a more comprehensive analysis of the needs of the students to pursue their degrees. To facilitate this, brackets will be assigned to all students prior to their enrolment in the 1 st term of every academic year.

STFAP processes will be designed to effectively and promptly determine the required financial assistance that will allow students to finish their chosen degree within the

prescribed period. The assignment process will consider relevant personal and household characteristics of the students that will enable the OSSS and the OSAs to assist them in pursuing their chosen degree in UP within the prescribed period to finish their degree program (i.e. four years for a 4-year degree program, unless extended on exceptional cases). Appropriate technology and support systems must be set up to give the OSSS and OSAs the capacity to support students.

Complementary financial assistance programs shall be made available to encourage UP

students to go beyond just graduating and realize their role in national development. These programs will be revised in order to enhance the effects of the STFAP by encouraging academic excellence, talent development, dedication in curricular and extra-curricular

activities, and hard work among UP students. The UP student financial assistance system shall be transparent, efficient, reliable, and decentralized to make it a feasible model for SUCs, and an instrument to provide Filipino students better access to college education. Through eUP, the system shall be made up of streamlined and cost-effective processes that ensure the integrity of reported information in order to allow the OSSS and the OSAs personnel to properly advise students. Moreover, the system will be expected to facilitate the administration of sustainable scholarship

programs, to yield the most returns out of public and private sector funding appropriated for student financial assistance programs.

Reform Principles

During the UCSFA meeting held on 24-25 October 2012, the following principles were identified to serve as guidelines in preparing the reform strategies and to ensure that all identified issues may be adequately addressed:

Transactions and processes must be quick, simple, and easy to understand;

The installed system should be reliable and transparent;

Processes must be cost-effective;

Local capacity in the different CUs must be increased; and

Student accountability will be considered a significant component of the student financial assistance system.

Reform Strategies

Overview of STFAP Reforms With the implementation of the proposed strategies, it is envisioned that the STFAP shall be the primary instrument in providing the means for students in need of financial assistance to pursue and finish their degree programs in the University. All other financial assistance programs shall be linked with the STFAP as the bracket assignment process will determine every UP undergraduate student’s means to enroll and finish their course requirements in the University.

Amendments to the STFAP shall be made in five (5) major components

  • A. STFAP benefits

  • B. STFAP brackets

  • C. Bracket assignment process

  • D. Bracket verification process

  • E. STFAP support system

STFAP Brackets

Background

The number of brackets under the Numeric Bracketing System (NBS) was reduced in the ABS to simplify

the administration of the STFAP (UP Board of Regents, 2006). However, the verification process

employed by the current ABS made the STFAP program very taxing due to the large amount of data needed to establish brackets. This stems from the fact that the current STFAP model uses an income function that requires a number of verifiable data about their household and the assets owned by the family of the students. This data is sometimes difficult to obtain. The parameters to determine the “predicted income” from this income function is based on the Family Income and Expenditure Survey (FIES) and Labor Force Survey (LFS). In addition to the predicted income, declared income as stated in the Income Tax Return (ITR) and other documents, are still used to determine the final brackets of students, along with special indicators that support a student’s capacity to pay, such as the hiring of security guards and family-financed foreign travel. Given these parameters, to satisfy the requirements, applicants must fill out a 14-page application form and submit supporting documents to verify the data provided in the form.

The application and verification processes of the ABS STFAP are expected to take one (1) month to finish so that students can receive their brackets prior to enrollment in the 1 st semester of the academic year. However, the process is completed in middle of the 2 nd semester of the same academic year due to the large volume of applications, the length of time to actually verify submitted information, the processing time to obtain bracket assignments, and the difficulty of obtaining supporting documents.

Proposed amendments

To address the problems with the current STFAP brackets, the following amendments are

recommended:

Use alphabetic brackets (Brackets A, B, C, D, E) that will classify students based on their means

to afford the costs of pursuing their chosen UP degree programs; and Utilize an alternative bracketing scheme based on the Socio-economic Classification (SEC) method to facilitate quick, simple and reliable bracket assignments.

In this proposed STFAP, five (5) alphabetic brackets will be used. This is to allow the system to easily accommodate STFAP beneficiaries who are under the current ABS system, which constitutes present UP students admitted from 2007. In previous policy changes made by the BOR, only freshmen are covered by changes in tuition and STFAP. The ABS system will be retained since, with a few modifications, it can be versatile enough to distinguish between students under the same bracket but with different attributes that can match appropriate benefits. This can be done by adding subscripts to the brackets

(e.g., C 1 , C 2 , D 1 , D 2 ). The need to further classify students within the same brackets will be discussed in the STFAP Benefits section of this proposal.

To address the problem of delays, a different bracket determinant that will require less data and shorter processing time will be utilized. It is hoped that this will allow the OSSS and the OSAs to implement a faster application and verification process so that students can benefit from additional government subsidy earlier in the academic year.

The proposed bracketing scheme will primarily be based on the new Philippine Socio-economic Classification (SEC) endorsed by the Marketing and Opinion Research Society of the Philippines (MORES).The method features clusters based on aggregate expenditures of Philippine households. Under the SEC, households that spend in more or less the same way each year were bundled together. This approach features a survey instrument which is executable under 15 minutes (De Jesus, 2012). This scheme is expected to diminish the number of appeals for reassignment.

The SEC clusters, as shown in Figure 1, will group households into nine (9) clusters that spend the same way based on 36,000+ households (De Jesus, 2012).

Figure 3: New Philippine SEC Clusters endorsed by MORES (MORES & National Statistics Office, 2012)

(e.g., C , C , D , D ). The need to further classify students within

The households of STFAP applicants will be classified into the nine (9) SEC clusters using nine (9) variable groups (De Jesus, 2012). They are as follows:

1.

Quality of consumers in the household (i.e. number of employed members, level of education);

  • 2. Number of selected energy-using facilities owned (e.g. TV, microwave oven, computers);

  • 3. Urban and regional membership;

  • 4. Transport type ownership;

  • 5. Water source type;

  • 6. Connectivity (or number of phones);

  • 7. Living space assets (e.g. number of sala sets);

  • 8. Living Shell (i.e. type of wall and type of roof); and

  • 9. Tenure of Home (i.e. whether house is owned or rented)

Each cluster has a corresponding estimated median income and expenditure per household (see Figure 4), which may be used to collapse the nine (9) clusters into five (5) brackets. By adjusting the current STFAP income ranges against the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for all income households (Year 2006 = 100), the adjusted ranges can be used to determine SEC clusters that will fit the current ABS brackets (see Table 2).

Figure 4: Household Income and Expenditure corresponding to each SEC Cluster (MORES & National Statistics Office, 2012)

1. Quality of consumers in the household (i.e. number of employed members, level of education); 2.

Table 2: Conversion of SEC Clusters to ABS STFAP Brackets

Maximum

250,001

C

9

1,262,000

631,001

170,371

500,001

B

9

None

1,262,001

None

1,000,001

A

500,000

Minimum

Maximum

135,001

315,500

5,6

E

  • - 135,000

  • - 170,370

1,2,3,4

Present STFAP Income Ranges

CPI-adjusted* STFAP Income Ranges

SEC Clusters

Current Brackets

Minimum

1,000,000

250,000

D

7,8

631,000

315,501

*CPI for 2011

1.262

Alternatively, a correlation analysis can be performed between the variables of the current instrument and the MORES instrument to determine the possible bundling of SEC clusters to fit the current ABS bracketing scheme. In a correlation analysis done with students from UP Baguio, UP Cebu, UP Visayas and UP Los Baños, the correlation coefficient was seen to show a fairly strong positive relationships among the variables of the two instruments (Abansi, 2012). Specifically, the relationship can be stated as:

Table 3: STFAP Bracket Assignment and SEC Cluster bundling (Abansi, 2012)

Current Brackets

 

SEC Clusters

 
 

UP Baguio

UP Cebu

UP Visayas

UP Los Baños

B

8, 9

 
  • 9 8, 9

8, 9

C

6, 7

 
  • 9 7, 8

7, 8, 9

D

5, 6

 
  • 8 6, 7

5, 6, 7

E1

4, 5, 6

4, 5, 6

3, 4

3, 4, 5

E2

3, 4, 5

3, 4

3, 4

1, 2, 3

As indicated in Table 3, members of the sample that fall under Bracket B in the current instrument can fall in Brackets 8 and 9 in the MORES using the samples from UP Baguio, UP Visayas and UPLB. The same interpretation can be applied to Brackets C, D, E1 and E2.

Based on the findings in Table 2 and Table 3, the proposed bracket assignment based on SEC clusters is as follows:

Table 4: Proposed STFAP Bracket Assignment based on SEC clusters

STFAP Brackets

 

SEC Clusters

 

UP Baguio

UP Cebu

UP Visayas

UP Los Baños

A

9

-

-

-

B

8

9

9

9

C

7

8

7, 8

7, 8

D

5, 6

7

5, 6

6

E

1, 2, 3, 4

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

1, 2, 3, 4

1, 2, 3, 4, 5

The proposal may still be modified based on the completed correlation study.

The proposed system recognizes the need to consider the dynamic nature of the bracketing system due to changing socio-economic indications of the capacity to afford college education. To keep the bracket assignment relevant, an annual report to test the accuracy of the bracket assignment shall be conducted prior to the release of the UPCAT results for incoming freshmen. Details of the reports are discussed under the Internal Control section of this proposal.

The SEC clustering method shall be employed only to assign the students before the 1 st semester enrolment of the academic year. By assigning the brackets early, financial assistance can be provided earlier to encourage them to enroll in that semester. However, contentions in bracket assignments can still be addressed through an appeals process. This is discussed under the Bracket Assignment Process section of this proposal. Under this process, alternative bases for bracketing, such as declared income and other household attributes not collected during the determination of SEC clusters, may be used to re-assign the appellant to a different bracket. For those who apply during the semester due to unexpected changes in their socio-economic status (i.e. typhoons, illnesses), the OSSS and OSAs can set a schedule during the semester to address these cases.

STFAP Benefits

Background When the STFAP was first implemented in AY 1989-1990, the program provided benefits to qualified students by granting additional tuition subsidies, waiving of laboratory and miscellaneous fees, and providing for living and book subsidies (UP Board of Regents, 1989). This was revised under the Iskolar ng Bayan program in 1990, which granted benefits indicated in Table 5. This scheme was later known as

the Numeric Bracketing System (NBS) to distinguish it with the ABS which is currently in place. The program benefits were eventually revised to include transportation and living allowance contingent on whether the student stays in a UP dormitory or not (UP Board of Regents, 1991).

Table 5: Iskolar ng Bayan Program Benefits (UP Board of Regents, 1990)

BRACKETS

SOCIALIZED TUITION

SCHOLARSHIP

 

LIVING SUBSIDY

Tuition

Lab and

Book subsidy

GWA

GWA

GWA

Misc. Fees

1.0 2.0

2.01 2.5

2.51 3.0

Bracket 1

Free

Free

P500/sem.

P1,250/mo.

P1,000/mo.

P750/mo.

Bracket 2

Free

Free

P500/sem.

P950/mo.

P750/mo.

P550/mo.

Bracket 3

Free

Free

P500/sem.

P600/mo.

P500/mo.

P350/mo.

Bracket 4

Free

Free

P500/sem.

P300/mo.

P250/mo.

P200/mo.

Bracket 5

Free

At cost

None

None

None

None

Bracket 6

75% disc.

At cost

None

None

None

None

Bracket 7

50% disc.

At cost

None

None

None

None

Bracket 8

25% disc.

At cost

None

None

None

None

Bracket 9

Full cost

At cost

None

None

None

None

The NBS benefits underwent changes from the 1990s until the mid-2000s to make the benefits more relevant. However, the mechanics for the granting of benefits, which were contingent on the attainment of certain conditions (i.e. General Weighted Average (GWA), residence, and income) remained the same.

In the present ABS, the benefits granting scheme was simplified to include tuition discounts and monthly stipends only (see Table 1). Moreover, the number of brackets was reduced from nine (9) to five (5) to simplify administration of STFAP (UP Board of Regents, 2006). With the new value of benefits in place for AY 2006-2007, the ABS was expected to offer relevant benefits as the value of allowances had been adjusted while maintaining a simplified classification scheme so that only those from Bracket E will enjoy the STFAP stipend privilege.

To prevent the serious problems caused by inflation, it was also stipulated that stipends are to be adjusted annually based on the current inflation rate (UP Board of Regents, 2006). However, the adjustment in monthly stipends given to those belonging to the lowest bracket was never implemented by the UP administration. Thus, the real value of the benefits granted to students has eroded due to inflation.

With the simplification of the bracketing system, only those belonging to the lowest bracket were granted cash allowances to support their University education. However, OSSS and OSAs have reported that there are students assigned to higher brackets who also need financial support to cover their costs of living in order to continue studying in the University. Some of these needs can be addressed by granting monthly allowances to cover their daily meals and lodging fees so they can live near the UP campus to help their families save on cost. Considering the lack of low-cost accommodation facilities in UP and affordable food on-campus, these students have resorted to working in Business Processing Outsourcing (BPOs) units and taking on odd jobs, like baby-sitting and doing household chores, in order to meet their periodic (i.e. monthly, weekly) cash flow requirements. This strategy eventually tends to affect their academic performance which leads some students to drop out of classes.

Proposed amendments To address these problems, the STFAP benefit structure needs to be modified to update the value of the benefits and provide allowances that can give the students the means to continue studying in UP. In the proposed benefit structure, the same socialized tuition under ABS STFAP shall be provided plus an academic allowance and a living allowance (see Table 6).

Table 6: Proposed STFAP Benefit Structure

STFAP

SOCIALIZED TUITION

LIVING ALLOWANCE

 

ACADEMIC ALLOWANCE

Brackets

Tuition

Tuition

Lab

Monthly

Lodging allowance

Book

GWA based

Cost

Cost

and

stipend

For UP

For

allowance

allowance

DILIMAN,

PAMPANGA,

non-UP

MANILA, LOS

BAGUIO,

Misc.

Dormitory

Dormitory

resident

BAÑOS

VISAYAS,

Fees

resident

CEBU,

 

MINDANAO

(1)

(2)

Bracket E

Free

Free

Free

P4,000/mo.

Waiver of

P2,500/mo

P4,000/sem.

P1,250/sem.

lodging

.

fees

Bracket D

P300/

P200/

At cost

P2,000/mo.

Waiver of

P2,500/mo

P4,000/sem.

None

unit

unit

lodging

.

fees

Bracket C

P600/

P400/

At cost

None

Waiver of

P2,500/mo

None

None

unit

unit

lodging

.

fees

Bracket B

P1,000/

P600/

At cost

None

None

None

None

None

unit

unit

Bracket A

P1,500/

P1,000

At cost

None

None

None

None

None

unit

/unit

Granting of academic and living allowances is geared towards assisting financially challenged students in satisfying the course requirements of their degree programs and affording them the right living conditions to be productive in the University. The academic allowance is composed of a book allowance given at the start of the semester to cover the cost of books and other school projects required to finish their course, plus incentives for obtaining a high General Weighted Average (GWA) at the end of the previous semester. The granting of an academic allowance aims to encourage students to enroll and actively participate in class activities that may entail cost, such as field works and projects. Unlike the NBS which factored in grades to determine all forms of allowance, the proposed academic allowance will only require enrolment in the minimum number of units prescribed in a student’s. On the other hand, the living allowance is composed of a monthly stipend and lodging allowance to allow financially needy students to reside near the University or to cover a portion of the transportation costs of commuting from their home to the campus. The living allowance aims to cover basic living necessities while studying in UP.

In the proposed benefit structure, students from Brackets E shall receive monthly stipends worth P4,000 plus academic allowance worth P1,250 every semester if they satisfy the minimum GWA requirement. The GWA requirement can be set by the University Committee on Scholarships and Financial Assistance (UCSFA) in its annual meeting. This is in contrast to the present benefit structure which grants a P2,400 monthly stipend only to students in Brackets E 2 , which is no longer adequate to even cover the cost of

three (3) meals per day over a one (1) month period. Given each meal is estimated to be P50, the present monthly stipend will only be enough for 16 days.

In addition to monthly stipends, students under Bracket C, D and E shall be classified into (1) UP dormitory residents and (2) non-UP dormitory residents to rationalize the lodging allowance since those admitted to the UP residence hall already receive a subsidy in terms of reduced dorm fees.

To address the problem of real value erosion, the benefit structure shall include an authorization to members of the UCSFA to regularly monitor the benefit rates and to propose adjustments regarding benefits granted through the STFAP to the BOR at the end of every academic year.

Bracket Assignment Process

Background

The present ABS assignment involves the following steps

Step 1.

Student submits information about his/her income prior to enrollment. Based

Step 2.

on this information, the student may be assigned to Brackets A or B. If a student is not satisfied with his/her initial bracket assignment, they need to fill up a 14-page application form and supply the needed documents. The objective of the process is to obtain information for the income function which will determine their bracket. Student needs to go through an office interview to verify submitted information in the application form. The collected data is then sent to the UP Computer Center and the Technical Working Group for data encoding and batch processing, respectively. The results are then sent to the OSSS and OSAs for dissemination of results. Figure 5 shows the current detailed bracket assignment process.

Figure 5: Computerized STFAP Bracket Assignment Process (eUP SAIS Team, 2012)

Figure 5: Computerized STFAP Bracket Assignment Process (eUP SAIS Team, 2012) 21

Step 3.

If a student is not satisfied with the assigned brackets, he/she must submit a letter of appeal stating the reason for the appeal for change in bracket assignment. The OSSS and OSAs will then attempt to obtain new information about the socio-economic status of the appellant through an additional office interview and home visits (HVs). Findings will be submitted to a local Committee of Scholarships and Financial Assistance (CSFAs), primarily to determine new bracket assignment according to the rules set by the UCSFA. Figure 6 shows the detailed appeal process.

Figure 6: Steps to process STFAP appeals (eUP SAIS Team, 2012)

Step 3. If a student is not satisfied with the assigned brackets, he/she must submit a

Step 4.

If the CSFA wishes to recommend the appellant to a bracket outside the authority granted to the committee, as in cases when it believes that appellant must be assigned to Brackets E1 or E2, the appeal is sent to the UCSFA for deliberation and final bracket assignment.

The long period to finally assign brackets is brought about by problems attributed to the centralized processing of STFAP applications and appeals. The UP Computer Center can finish processing of STFAP application forms between one (1) to four (4) months. The delay is usually due to problems with the Technical Working Group assigned by the VPAA to work on the encoded data of the UP Computer Center. For appeal cases brought to the UCSFA, the problem is a result of the infrequent meetings of the committee to work on these cases. The UCSFA usually meets three (3) times every academic year, usually during the months of October, February, and May. This means that appellants who wish to be assigned to brackets E 1 and E 2 may have to wait until the end of the 1 st semester to complete the process and hopefully be assigned to these brackets.

Proposed Amendment

To address delays in the assignment of brackets, the proposed bracket assignment procedure will be assigned to each CU. This means that all processes regarding the assignment of STFAP brackets will be within the purview of the OSSS and the OSAs, with the UCSFA acting as audit committee to ensure

consistency across CUs and compliance with regulations.

The proposed bracket assignment process is as follows:

Table 7: STFAP Bracket Assignment Process - Current and Proposed

Processes

Current STFAP bracket assignment processes

Proposed STFAP bracket assignment processes

 

STEP 1

STEP 1

Initial Bracket Assignment

Student submits information about his/her income prior to enrollment. Based on this information, the student may be assigned to Brackets A or B

Student shall indicate information needed to classify his/her respective household into the nine (9) SEC clusters. The Admission Office will collect

   

these data, to be forwarded to OSSS or OSA for processing of brackets. The OSSS or OSA will send the result from bracket processing to their respective Offices of University Registrar (OURs). The OURs shall indicate the brackets, including the estimated tuition value for the 1 st semester, in the student’s admission slip and deliver it to his/her residence prior to the 1 st semester registration period.

 

STEP 2

STEP 2

If a student is not satisfied with

If a student is not satisfied with

Bracket Re-assignment (Part 1)

his/her initial bracket assignment, they need to fill up a 14-page application form and supply the needed documents. The objective of the process is to obtain information for the income function which will determine their bracket. Student needs to go through an office interview to verify submitted information in the application form. The collected data is then sent to the UP Computer Center and the Technical Working Group for data encoding and batch processing, respectively. The results are then sent to the

his/her bracket, the process as indicated in Figure 6 will apply. The student must submit a letter of appeal stating the reason for the request. The OSSS and OSAs will determine the sources of income and approximate expenditures of the appellant based on HVs and office interview. The investigation will establish their capacity to pay and determine ways by which the student can be assisted by the OSSS or OSA. Findings from the office interview and HV will then be submitted to local CSFAs to: (1) determine new bracket

 

OSSS and OSAs for dissemination of results. Figure 5 shows the current detailed bracket assignment process.

assignments, and (2) to act on the recommendation of the HV team. Actions may range from re-assignment of brackets to endorsement to various student affairs programs, (i.e. University Food Service, University Health Service, Guidance, Counseling Services, Learning Resource Centers).

 

STEP 3

 

Bracket Re-assignment (Part 2)

If a student is not satisfied with the assigned brackets, he/she must submit a letter of appeal stating the reason for the appeal for change in bracket

assignment. The OSSS and OSAs will then attempt to obtain new information about the socio- economic status of the appellant through an additional office interview and home visits (HVs). Findings will be submitted to a local Committee of Scholarships and Financial Assistance (CSFAs), primarily to determine new bracket assignment according to the rules set by the UCSFA. Figure 6 shows the detailed appeal process.

 

STEP 4

 

Bracket

If the CSFA wishes to

Re-assignment (Part 3)

recommend the appellant to a bracket outside the authority granted to the committee, as in cases when it believes that appellant must be assigned to Brackets E1 or E2, the appeal is sent to the UCSFA for deliberation and final bracket assignment.

 
   

STEP 3

Reporting and

All re-assignment of brackets

Monitoring

made by the local CFAs will be reported to the UCSFA.

To facilitate the collection of relevant information as a basis to assign brackets, STFAP data will be obtained during UPCAT application using the MORES SEC instrument (Table 8). Other relevant information that is useful in deriving trends of the population, such as age, income, and other demographic attributes, may also be required. This can be facilitated by integrating the data gathering activities and initial bracket assignment process in the eUP SAIS.

Table 8: MORES SEC Instrument Content

AREA HHold Member Currently Enrolled in PRIVATE School Mindanao North/Central Luzon None Has Visayas Bicol South
AREA HHold Member Currently Enrolled in PRIVATE School Mindanao North/Central Luzon None Has Visayas Bicol South
AREA HHold Member Currently Enrolled in PRIVATE School Mindanao North/Central Luzon None Has Visayas Bicol South
AREA HHold Member Currently Enrolled in PRIVATE School Mindanao North/Central Luzon None Has Visayas Bicol South
AREA HHold Member Currently Enrolled in PRIVATE School Mindanao North/Central Luzon None Has Visayas Bicol South
AREA HHold Member Currently Enrolled in PRIVATE School Mindanao North/Central Luzon None Has Visayas Bicol South
 

AREA

HHold Member Currently Enrolled in PRIVATE School

 

Mindanao

North/Central Luzon

None

Has

Visayas

Bicol

 

South Luzon

Metro Manila

HIRED SCHOOL TRANSPORT (past 4 wks)

 
 

Not paid for school transport

 

LOCALE

 

Paid for school transport

 

Rural

Urban

 
 

Financial Assistance from Abroad in past 12 months

 

TOTAL HHOLD MEMBERS EMPLOYED (in past 6 months)

 

Number of DURABLES/FACILITIES OWNED

 

HHOLD TYPE

 

Stereo/CD

Aircon

 

Single/Nuclear

Extended/ w/ non-related families/persons

TV

Computer/laptop

 

VHS/VCD/DVD/VTR

Phones (landline & mobile)

HHOLD HEAD CIVIL STATUS

 

Refrigerator/freezer

Sala Set/Sofa

 

Married

Not (single/separated/ widowed/divorced)

Washing machine

HHEAD EDUCT’L ATTAINMENT

TOILET FACILITY

 

No schooling

Voct’l (Tech course)/ College undergraduate

None

Closed-pit

Elementary

College graduate

Others (pail system, etc)

Water-sealed (with flush)

High school

Graduate (MBA)degree holder

Open-pit

VEHCLE OWNERSHIP

ROOF TYPE (observation)

 
 

Number of cars

Number of jeep/ motorcycles/tricycles

Salvaged/makeshift materials

 

Mixed but predominantly salvaged materials

 

FUEL TYPES for COOKING

 

Light materials (cogon, nipa, anahaw)

 

Not use any

Charcoal

Mixed but predominantly light materials

Wood

LPG

Mixed but predominantly strong materials

 

Strong materials (galvanized, iron, all)

DOMESTIC SERV (past 4 wks)

   
 

No helper/boy/driver

Has paid helper/boy

OUTER WALL TYPE (observation)

 
 

Salvaged/makeshift materials

LAUNDRY SERV (past 4 wks)

 

Mixed but predominantly salvaged materials

 
 

Not paid for laundry

Paid for laundry

Light materials (cogon, nipa, anahaw)

 

Mixed but predominantly light materials

Any HHold Member TRAVELED by Plane; paid by self or HouseHold (past 4 wks)

Mixed but predominantly strong materials

 

None

Has

Strong materials (galvanized, iron, all)

For upperclassmen, renewal shall be made every two (2) years. Renewal of brackets shall be made at the OSSS and the OSAs. Applicants shall fill up the online application forms for processing by the OSSS and OSAs. The application form will still be based on MORES SEC instrument plus other relevant information

to describe the student’s means to afford the cost of University education.

Internal Control

Background

The current STFAP utilizes a limited range of instruments to establish internal controls. Internal controls are processes designed to provide a reasonable assurance that the objectives are achieved, in terms of:

(1) effectiveness and efficiency of operations; (2) reliability of financial reporting; and (3) compliance with applicable laws and regulations (Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission [COSO], 1994). The following processes constitute the internal controls of the STFAP:

HVs to test the veracity of information about the student’s STFAP application;

Reporting of appeal cases, supported mostly by HV findings, to the UCSFA for possible courses

of action; and Submission of reports on STFAP and student financial assistance statistics as required by the UP Administration.

A year of observation of the actual processes of the OSSS reveals that reasonable assurance regarding the efficiency of operations and compliance with applicable regulations is sometimes not met in the operations of STFAP and other student financial assistance programs. This poses a problem since inconsistency of programs and unreliable results render these initiatives questionable, thereby compromising the achievement of the aims of student financial assistance. Moreover, there appears to be sporadic financial reporting since matters pertaining to the communication of financial resources administration are handled by a separate office and are only discussed when these resources are depleted. In consultations with the UP Accounting Offices and the UP Budget Offices held in September 2012, it was concluded that the impact of changes in financial assistance programs must always be considered since these can affect the internally generated income of the University. At present, the University is dependent on cash flows from tuition payments to finance its Maintenance and Other Operating Expenses (MOOE). Since changes in financial assistance policies may change the way students pay their tuition, any modification in financial assistance programs may have a significant impact on the overall financial health of the University. Since the proposed amendments in the STFAP imply

adjustments given certain conditions are met (i.e. adjustment in SEC cluster bundling as supported by annual review, adjustment in benefits based on inflation), proper internal controls need to be in place so that policy changes can take into account both the student welfare and the finance health of the University.

Proposed Amendments

Currently, only cases that require re-assignment to Bracket E or reassignment beyond those authorized by the Local CSFAs are reported to the UCSFA. Monitoring of the efficacy of the bracket assignment processes is only made during these cases. Hence, a systematic reporting and audit procedure need to

be set up.

To establish internal control, a system needs to be installed to efficiently generate reliable data that can support policy changes in the STFAP. The STFAP internal control system must be constituted of processes that enable adequate reporting of the overall performance of STFAP and other programs, and audit procedures that can provide reasonable assurance that student financial assistance policies are properly implemented.

Prior to policy changes and recommendation for actions, adequate information is needed to support these decisions. There is a need for reports that not only offer data but also capture the value of information. Other than the notable cases reported by UCSFA members, regular reports to be submitted after each bracket assignment season should contain the following:

  • 1. Information that approximate the capacity of students to shoulder the cost of UP education. The statistics may include number of students falling under each bracket, bracket assignment by college and constituent university, and students that benefit from financial assistance programs other than the STFAP.

  • 2. Information about the capacity of STFAP processes to address the financial needs of students. The statistics may include number of appeals, number of granted appeals, number of appeals endorsed to UCSFA for recommendation, categorization of appeals in terms of original bracket assignment, purpose of appeals, and action of local CSFA on these appeals (i.e. endorsed to other offices, granted requests, rejected requests)

  • 3. Information about the relevance of benefits from the STFAP and other UP financial benefits. The statistics may include the number of students qualified to avail STFAP allowances, number of students who actually availed STFAP allowances, number of students seeking

additional benefits, number of scholarships and other related programs, number of beneficiaries of scholarship and other related programs, types of benefits availed by scholars, number of student assistants and graduate assistants, and total benefits released to student assistants and graduate assistants.

  • 4. Information about the payment behavior of UP students. The statistics may include payments coursed through loans and alternative payment schemes, number of loan transactions, brackets of students taking on loans and alternative payment schemes, interest income generated from loans, number of students who defaulted from loans and alternative payment schemes, and aging of receivables.

  • 5. Information about the integrity of the operating procedures and the assessment of overall operating performance of student financial assistance system of UP. Statistics may include incidences of irregularities between brackets assigned and actual capacity of students to afford UP education, time required to finish the application process, actual cost of conducting HVs and other verification activities, budget projections for required activities of UCSFA, budget projections for benefits of qualified students, variance analysis between funds allotted and obligations to students, status of funds for System-wide scholarship programs, and number of students availing counseling desks of OSSS and OSAs.

In addition to regular reports, an operational audit is necessary to establish reasonable assurance on the reliability of reporting processes and procedures. An operational audit assesses the efficiency and

effectiveness of management’s operations, with focus on information systems and operating

procedures (Ricchiute, 2001). There is a need to conduct operational audits on the reliability of the bracket assignment process since the risk of assigning inappropriate brackets, due to incorrect information, is inherently high in the proposed STFAP. The risk is attributed to the absence of verification activities, such as the cross-referencing documents with declarations of the applicant, in order to shorten the STFAP bracket assignment process. The proposed application process allows the

students to solely encode the information even without submitting supporting documents, unlike the present STFAP scheme where all application information submitted by the student are painstakingly verified prior to bracket assignment.

The operational audit for STFAP bracket assignment commences after all students from a particular year level are granted STFAP brackets. This is expected to occur during the 1 st semester, within two (2) months after the registration period. The purpose is to obtain information to establish reasonable

assurance that the brackets assigned to the student matches the students’ capacity to afford the cost of UP education. The audit will be composed of the following steps:

Step 1.

A systematic sampling procedure will be implemented to come up with a

Step 2.

sample of students who will be part of the audit. Although the sample must ideally be representative of the population of UP students under the STFAP program, this can be constrained by the following: Number of HV teams available, budget for HV, period to finish HV (between 1-2 months), allowance for typhoons. After obtaining the sample, students belonging to the sample shall undergo the

Step 3.

documentation, office interviews and HV. Documentation involves the examination of documents and records to support the declaration of the students. Students will be required to submit documents, such as barangay certification and documents to prove of source of income and ownership of assets. Office interviews involve obtaining oral statements from students regarding their means to afford UP education, with an assessment whether the students optimizes the available financial assistance options offered by the University. HVs involve observation and interviews of actual households of student. HV interviews will also include assessment whether the students optimizes the available financial assistance options offered by the University. Prior to the audit, all students will be required to sign an undertaking, stating that they agree to submit additional documents, undergo office interview, and HV as part of annual audit of the STFAP. Findings from the audit will be forwarded to the local CSFA as basis for actions. In case irregularities are uncovered, the local CSFA may recommend further investigation by creating an Ad hoc committee. The Ad hoc committee may be composed of a presiding officer from the OSSS or OSA, the HV team, the office interviewers, selected OSSS or OSA staff, a faculty representative and a student representative. The purpose of the Ad hoc committee investigation is to evaluate the findings of the audit, to establish whether the findings reveal a substantial irregularity that will warrant a case in the Student Disciplinary Tribunal (SDT). The recommendation of the Ad Hoc Committee shall be forwarded to the local CSFA for appropriate action.

Step 4.

Based on the recommendation of the Ad Hoc committee, the CSFAs will be

Step 5.

expected to confirm the original bracket of the student under operational audit or file a case to the SDT. Members of the UCSFA will be informed regarding the progress of these cases, which they will consider in setting policies that will hopefully improve the reliability of the STFAP and enhance the integrity of its operating procedures.

Investigations by the Ad Hoc committee shall occur during the 1 st semester, most likely on the 3 rd and 4 th months. Prior to all Ad Hoc committee investigations, the UCSFA will set the guidelines of the operational audit, the parameters for establishing irregularities, the procedures prior to endorsement to SDTs, and the policy authorizing the CSFAs to confirm brackets as determined by the results of the audit. During the deliberation, students will still enjoy the Bracket initially assigned to them until a bracket can be confirmed by the CSFA. They can then be marked as overassessed or underassessed, as appropriate, in the following term.

Support system

Background

The current organizational structure that supports the STFAP and other student financial assistance programs is comprised of nine (9) offices, headed by the VPAA (see Figure 7). These programs are then implemented in UP Diliman through the OVCSA and the OSSS and in other CUs through their respective OSAs. On top of its CU level functions, the OSSS also coordinates activities at the System-level for the

OVPAA.

Figure 7: UP units administering the STFAP and other student financial assistance programs

OVCSA (UP OSSS (UP Diliman) Diliman) OSA (UP Baguio) OSA (UP Cebu) OSSS (UP System) OVPAA
OVCSA (UP
OSSS (UP Diliman)
Diliman)
OSA (UP Baguio)
OSA (UP Cebu)
OSSS (UP System)
OVPAA (UP
System)
OSA (UP Los
Banos)
OSA (Manila)
OSA (UP
Mindanao)
OSA (UP Visayas)

At present, the manpower of UP’s student financial assistance program is composed of 52 personnel

authorized to service almost 50,000 UP students. The financial assistance sections of the OSSS and OSAs

focus on the following:

  • a. CU-level activities

i.

Accepting and processing STFAP and other program applications and appeals.

the UP Cash Offices; and

ii.

This includes screening of applicants and verification of submitted information prior to processing by the UP Computer Center and deliberation by the local CSFA; Awarding of benefits. This includes preparation of vouchers and other

documentation needed to authorize the release of funds to students through

iii.

Conduct of office interview and HVs to verify veracity of information declared

and obtain additional information about applicants’ appeals.

  • b. System activities

i.

Implementing decisions of the UCSFA relating to STFAP and other System-wide financial assistance programs;

ii.

Reporting issues to the UCSFA on STFAP and related financial assistance

iii.

programs; and Recommending solutions to the OVPAA to resolve issues in the administration of the STFAP and other student financial assistance programs both at the System and CU level.

Among the CU level offices, the OSSS is the only unit that focuses on student financial assistance services. In other CUs, all scholarship and financial assistance functions are rendered by their respective OSAs. In addition to these functions, the OSAs administer other student support services such as guidance and counseling services, student housing, and university health services. These activities are often assigned to the OSA personnel who also provide student financial assistance services.

Since its implementation, STFAP applications are processed in central offices and units, with the OSSS acting as the overall coordinator of the OSAs. Several of the issues on STFAP can be attributed to this structure. Processing STFAP applications take a long time because central units have definite schedules which are independent of other related offices. Moreover, each central unit can only process applications by batch due to the constraints in obtaining inputs and the limited capacity of these units due to their small manpower and supporting infrastructure. This is expected to worsen as same number of employees will have to deal with increasing number of students seeking financial assistance.

In the current set-up, there is no section that explicitly delivers expert advice to students and their parents to help them enhance means to afford the cost of pursuing their chosen degree programs in UP. There is also no provision to ensure quality of services rendered to students that the organization presently offers. This is due to the absence of systematic operational audit activities, regular capability building to enhance the skills of personnel, and operational performance evaluation for feedback. The OSSS and the OSAs need a program staff where the people in the office are relatively capable not only to do monotonous office work but to do research and sensible data analysis relevant in the enhancement of financial assistance services.

Despite these problems, the OSSS and OSA have continuously delivered financial assistance services to students within the framework provided by the STFAP and System-wide programs. The strength of the organizational lies in the experience of the personnel assigned to conduct operational and tactical functions of various programs. Several of the personnel have been with OSSS and the OSA since the implementation of the STFAP in 1989, and have already gained significant expertise and experience in

administering intensive screening and verification activities that are needed to run both NBS and ABS schemes. The knowledge they obtained since they joined these units have been valuable in assisting the OSA and OSSS directors and during UCSFA and CSFA deliberation of STFAP and scholarship cases since these personnel were able to draw from their experiences with many of the financial assistance programs.

In spite of their expertise, the assignment and corresponding entitlements of several personnel are no longer appropriate due to the limited plantilla positions assigned to the OSAs and OSSS since they were re-organized in the 1990s. Table 9 shows the number and actual positions of OSSS and OSA personnel in the University handling the present population of UP students. In several cases, several staff assigned as administrative personnel, who have gained expertise as scholarship affairs officers were assigned to student financial assistance services. However, the OSAs and the OSSS were not able to give the proper assignments due to lack of plantilla positions that can be awarded to them. Ideally, each OSSS and OSA must perform a set of standard functions with equivalent plantilla positions to meet the minimum requirements of CU level programs. With the unavailability of proper plantilla positions, the current assignments have led to dissatisfaction among the employees since their qualification and functions do not match their assigned work assignments.

Table 9: UP Student Financial Assistance Personnel

(1) Admin. Asst. II (1) Director (1) Admin. Off II (1) Admin. Off I (1) Support
(1) Admin. Asst. II
(1) Director
(1) Admin. Off II
(1) Admin. Off I
(1) Support Staff
(1) Director
(1) Senior SAO
(1) SAO II
3
Supervisor
SFAS only
SFAS plus Others
(1) Junior SAO
(1) Admin. Aide VI
(2) Admin. Aide IV
4
See notes
(1) Officer-in-Charge
(2) Senior SAO
(2) Admin. Asst. II
10,221
(1) Admin. Asst. III
(2) Junior SAO
9
(1) Director
(1) Admin. Off II
(1) SAO II
(1) SAO I
(1) SAO I
(1) Director
(3) SAO II
24,407
18
(2) Admin. Aide IV
(1) Senior Admin. Asst.
(1) REMO
Total
(1) SAO I
7
5,772
(3) Junior SAO
(1) Director
(1) SAO I
2
(1) Scholarship Affairs Officer (SAO) I
population
Student
Personnel
(3) School Credits Evaluator
Personnel
1,000
5,575
9
(3) Admin. Aide VI
(1) SAO I
(2) Admin. Asst. II
(1) SAO II
(1) Director
(1) Admin. Aide IV
2,435

SFAS pertains to personnel render STFAP, loans, and other student financial assistance services

Inadequate resources have also been a major issue in the delivery of financial assistance services. During UCSFA meetings, members regularly reported that the present appropriations are inadequate to support the activities of the OSSS, OSAs and even the OVPAA for student financial assistance related activities. There were cases that the OSAs and OSSS were advised to undertake cost-cutting measures using technology. However, the lack of appropriations for equipment to avail this technology leaves the OSSS and the OSAs costly yet necessary alternatives to deliberate on cases and discuss policy improvements.

The lack of budget has limited the capacity of the OSSS and OSAs in delivering efficient and cost effective financial assistance services. Table 10 and Table 11 present the current budgetary appropriation to the OSSS and OSAs for office administration, financial assistance and STFAP administration. The lack of budget rendered activities of several OSAs difficult, which would otherwise be manageable if they are provided budgets to purchase facilities and equipment. In many cases, requests for budget to cover regional meetings, insurance and transportation cost for HVs, and allowances related to the delivery of financial assistance services were denied by their respective UP budget office due to insufficient MOOE budget allocated to the OSSS and OSAs. In the absence of a physical central office that the OSSS and OSA personnel can utilize, the OSSS always encountered logistical problems when organizing required activities, such as system-wide training workshops for OSSS and OSAs, planning sessions for UCSFA members, UCSFA deliberation meetings, awarding ceremonies for newly-selected scholars, and donor- related hosting activities. Due to non-provision for Capital Outlay, most of the OSAs do not have the resources to purchase the basic equipment (e.g. computers, printers, cameras) to assist the personnel in documenting cases. UP Cebu does not have its own budget for Personnel Services (PS), making it difficult for its OSA to hire the staff needed to man the unit. UP Mindanao has only appropriation for financial assistance but none for office administration with the lack of appropriation for PS and MOOE. With the lack of budget to support office administration, the positive impact from the proposed changes in the STFAP and other student financial assistance services may not be realized.

Table 10: OSA/OSSS Budget for UP Baguio, UP Cebu, UP Diliman, and UP Los Baños

- 1.30 0.37 0.78 3.57 1.11 - 2012 MOOE Capital Outlay Personnel Services 1.38 1.13 STFAP
-
1.30
0.37
0.78
3.57
1.11
-
2012
MOOE
Capital Outlay
Personnel Services
1.38
1.13
STFAP stipends
3.27 3.73
TOTAL
0.78
0.78
1.22
1.04
Student assistantship
Financial assistance
-
-
CU-level
0.35
0.33
OSA/OSSS Administration
System-level
2010 2011
- -
MOOE
STFAP administration
3.05 14.66
0.13
2012 2010
2010
2011
0.35 0.42
2.16 4.40
1.12
1.09
-
1.79 1.89
0.31 0.36
0.22
0.18
- 6.13
-
-
0.45 3.60
0.13
0.16
- -
-
0.36
3.60 6.70
15.35 12.19
0.18 0.19
0.18
4.40
5.32 1.90
6.81
3.60
- 0.09
-
0.37
2010 2011
2011 2012
2.72 7.71
6.70
16.50 16.88
- -
0.10
2.34
0.03
0.10
7.71
2012
7.71
6.70
15.95
-
0.10
1.43
0.01
UP Los Banos
UP Diliman
UP Cebu
UP Baguio

Amounts in 000,000

Table 11: OSA Budget for UP Manila, UP Mindanao, and UP Visayas

2012 2011 2012 2010 2011 2011 2010 2012 2010 0.40 4.40 3.42 9.08 - 0.86 0.01
2012
2011
2012
2010
2011
2011
2010
2012
2010
0.40
4.40
3.42
9.08
-
0.86
0.01
1.94 0.36
-
MOOE
STFAP administration
System-level
5.47
0.82 6.23
0.58
2.35
2.53
STFAP stipends
4.43
0.11 4.43
0.11
1.50 0.11
12.28 11.09
0.68 0.92
MOOE
OSA/OSSS Administration
CU-level
0.50
1.50
Student assistantship
Financial assistance
-
- 0.04
Personnel Services
- -
-
0.24
Capital Outlay
0.38
- 0.84
-
0.09 -
0.23
-
4.44 4.08
4.95
TOTAL
- -
- -
- -
0.47
-
1.50
0.80
- 0.74
-
0.54 -
0.08
0.45
UP Mindanao
UP Manila
UP Visayas

Amounts in 000,000

Proposed amendments

To address the identified issues, the current financial assistance system must be restructured to create more a function-based organization, composed of proper staff assignments and supported with adequate physical and financial resources, to equip the OSSS and OSAs in executing the strategies in

the proposal to enhance the student financial assistance services of UP.

To oversee student financial assistance services of the University, a UP system level administrator is needed. The VPAA may create an Assistant Vice-President for Academic Affairs position whose responsibility focuses on the implementation and oversight of the STFAP and other financial assistance services at the system-level. The OSSS can serve as its coordinator for matters regarding system-level STFAP and other financial assistance programs.

The organizational structure of the OSSS and OSAs must be able to match the expected functional requirements.The installation of eUP is a timely opportunity in order to push significant changes in the way financial assistance are processed and communicated. The outcome of the recent eUP documentation and standardization workshop facilitated the identification of key functions and recommendations to improve manner that these current processes are handled. The proposed changes identified in the proposal and improvements recommended in the eUP workshops, the STFAP and financial cycle is expected to change. Table 12 shows the change in regular STFAP activities for one academic year. Table 13 shows the schedule based on standardized processes after the eUP documentation and standardization workshops.

Table 12: STFAP activities from February to January

January December UCSFA meetings Proposed STFAP Release of results of appeals Operational audit Processing and Release
January December UCSFA meetings Proposed STFAP Release of results of appeals Operational audit Processing and Release
January December UCSFA meetings Proposed STFAP Release of results of appeals Operational audit Processing and Release

January

December

January December UCSFA meetings Proposed STFAP Release of results of appeals Operational audit Processing and Release
UCSFA meetings
UCSFA meetings
UCSFA meetings

Proposed STFAP

Release of results of appeals

Operational audit

Processing and Release of STFAP results

Processing and Release of STFAP results

Present STFAP

Acceptance of appeals

Acceptance of appeals

Processing of appeals and HVs

Processing of appeals and HVs
Release of results of appeals
Release of results of appeals
Release of results of appeals

Processing of appeals and HVs

Acceptance of STFAP application

Acceptance of STFAP application
Acceptance of STFAP application

Processing and Release of STFAP results

Acceptance of appeals

UCSFA meetings
UCSFA meetings
UCSFA meetings

Release of stipends

Local CSFA meetings

STFAP Activities

Release of stipends

Local CSFA meetings

February

Acceptance of STFAP application
Acceptance of STFAP application

STFAP Activities

March

April

May June

July August

September

October

November

January December UCSFA meetings Proposed STFAP Release of results of appeals Operational audit Processing and Release
January December UCSFA meetings Proposed STFAP Release of results of appeals Operational audit Processing and Release
January December UCSFA meetings Proposed STFAP Release of results of appeals Operational audit Processing and Release
Table 12: STFAP activities from February to January January December UCSFA meetings Proposed STFAP Release of

Table 13: Scholarship, Loans, and Student Assistantship Activities from February to January

STFAP Activities February March April May June July August September October November December January Release of
STFAP Activities February March April May June July August September October November December January Release of
 

STFAP Activities

February March April May June July August September October November December January
February
March
April
May
June
July August
September
October
November
December
January

Release of allowances

Release of loaned amount

Release of benefits

Application of student assistants

Approval of new scholarship programs

Negotiation with potential donors

Loan application and renewal

Awarding ceremonies

Processing of application

Student Assistanship activities

Student Loan activities

Application and selection of scholars

Scholarship and related programs

Release of allowances Release of loaned amount Release of benefits Application of student assistants Approval of
Release of allowances Release of loaned amount Release of benefits Application of student assistants Approval of
Release of allowances Release of loaned amount Release of benefits Application of student assistants Approval of
Release of allowances Release of loaned amount Release of benefits Application of student assistants Approval of
Release of allowances Release of loaned amount Release of benefits Application of student assistants Approval of
Release of allowances Release of loaned amount Release of benefits Application of student assistants Approval of
Release of allowances Release of loaned amount Release of benefits Application of student assistants Approval of

To support these function, a function-based organizational structure must be in place. Figure 8 and Figure 9 show the proposed Organizational Structure for OSSS and OSAs, respectively.

Figure 8: Proposed OSSS Organizational Structure

Diliman Scholarship Screening, Awarding and Benefits Programs Scholarship Programs System Scholarship Screening, Awarding and Benefits Information
Diliman Scholarship
Screening, Awarding and
Benefits
Programs
Scholarship Programs
System Scholarship
Screening, Awarding and
Benefits
Information and Records
management
Screening, Evaluation and
Benefits
Programs
Documentation and
STFAP
Reporting
Financial Assistance
Services
Information and Records
management
Student loans
Installment payment
services
Programs
Special Financial Assistance
Programs
Special programs (i.e.
Adopt-a-student)
Information and Records
management
Project management
Student/Graduate
services
Assistantships
System and Extension
Services
Promotion and
communication
System STFAP and
Scholarship coordination
Administrative services
Procurement,
Disbursement and other
support services
Director

Figure 9: Proposed OSA Organizational Structure

Scholarship Programs Screening, Awarding and Benefits Screening, Evaluation and Benefits STFAP Documentation and Reporting Financial Assistance
Scholarship Programs
Screening, Awarding and
Benefits
Screening, Evaluation and
Benefits
STFAP
Documentation and
Reporting
Financial Assistance Services
Student loans
Installment payment services
Special Financial Assistance
Programs
Special programs (i.e. adopt-
a-student)
Procurement, Disbursement
and other support services
Student/Graduate
Administrative services
Assistantships
Information and Records
Management
Other Student Services
Director

In the current organizational structure of the OSSS, the office is divided into two sections only: (1) STFAP and other student services, and (2) Scholarships. The system functions of the OSSS are given to key personnel of the unit as additional assignments, on top of their regular functions. This has led to overlapping of functions which unnecessarily burdens employees. To an extent, these have led to occasional assignments that provided additional experience but at the expense of efficiency. Additional assignments do not necessarily equate to additional compensation or benefits. This leads to discontent and a negative attitude to work.T o address these issues, the proposed OSSS organizational structure will be divided into three (3) sections:

  • 1. Financial assistance services. This section will focus on processing applications for STFAP and other financial assistance programs, awarding benefits, gathering data for verification and reportorial requirements, and conducting operational audits within UP Diliman.

  • 2. System coordination, external affairs, and extension services. This section will focus on coordinating system activities, preparing meetings, workshops and training programs for the OSSS and OSAs, and monitoring of external linkages with donors, government offices, and other offices.

  • 3. Administrative services. This section will focus on the administration of internal affairs, procurement, budgets, and personnel welfare.

The change in the OSSS organizational structure does not necessarily entail appointment of additional personnel. However, it will entail the creation of plantilla positions that will handle the new functions. The resulting or plantilla position must provide proper compensation and benefit packages to the OSSS and OSA staff, which may include insurance coverage and hazard pay during HVs, honoraria for participation in extension work, and other non-monetary incentives to adequately support their functions as financial assistance personnel.

The proposed OSA organizational structure aims to build the capacity of OSAs to accommodate the functions in the proposed STFAP processes. The OSAs will adopt a similar structure as the OSSS. Each OSA will have a financial assistance services section and a separate administrative services section. Since the OSAs also deliver other student services, a separate arm for these offices needs to be created. As some of the OSAs require additional manpower, the proposed organization structure may entail hiring of additional staff and creation of new plantilla positions.

The budget of the OSSS and OSAs also needs to be revised to fund the requirements to meet the proposed changes. Funding should be sufficient for the additional positions that are to be created. As the cost of operating activities varies among the OSSS and OSAs, the MOOE of each unit needs to be adjusted accordingly based on a schedule of activities and cost for one year. Capital outlay needs to be adjusted to purchase the basic equipment for the OSAs and the proposed OSSS building to hold System activities. In the October 2011 STFAP workshop, each OSA must be equipped with the following units:

One (1) desktop unit for each OSA staff,

One (1) printer per OSA,

One (1) laptop computer per OSA for System-wide meetings,

One (1) LCD projector for CSFA and other meetings,

One (1) voice recorder per OSA, and

One (1) digital camera for the HV teams

Revisions in other financial assistance programs

With the revisions in the STFAP, other financial assistance programs of the University need to amended to complement the program. Since the STFAP aims to provide means for all students in need of financial assistance, the scholarship programs funded by donors must be revised in order to encourage academic excellence by giving benefits for good performance. In addition, scholarship programs would then be able to use the STFAP brackets as a means to screen financially needy applicants with the earlier release

of brackets. The same initiative may be used for the student assistantship program. Allowances that match the minimum wage may be given in order to give just compensation for hard work and to encourage students to continue studying while also providing working opportunities from the University. Similar adjustments may also be done to other financial assistance programs for students of UP dependents and other groups to be able to provide the needed support to these students.

With the installation of eUP, many of these programs can be further enhanced to efficiently deliver quality financial assistance services. Loan transactions can be automated, eventually turning them into installment payment schemes that can offer more flexible payment options to students. The financial aid utilized by students can be easily monitored since the information system is able to consolidate the outcome of different financial assistance programs in one report. Since these reports can be easily and reliably prepared, time and resources can be freed up so that OSSS and OSA personnel can focus on advising students on how they can supplement their means to continue pursuing their degree programs in the University.

Implementation

Implementation of the strategies to revise the STFAP and other financial assistance services of the University will require the appointment of a Committee to oversee implementation of the reforms once

the proposal is approved by the BOR. The members of the committee should ideally be the a newly- appointed Assistant Vice-President for Academic Affairs, the OSSS and OSA directors, and key resource

persons.

A separate budget allocated for meetings, honoraria and support staff to aid the committee

activities in relation to this program is also recommended.

If approved by the BOR by February 2013, the proposal can be implemented in less than two (2) years. The potential implementation activities to be undertaken by the OSSS, OSA, and the Committee are presented in Table 14.

Table 14: Schedule of Implementation Activities and other STFAP activities for AY 2013-2014

Month

STFAP Reform

STFAP Activities under the

STFAP Activities under the

Implementation

revised program (Implementation Phase)

current program

February

Public Consultation

   

2013

Preparation of Financial Impact Assessment

Deliberation in PAC

Deliberation and Approval in BOR

March

Creation of Committee to

 

Acceptance and Processing

2013

Implement new STFAP

of STFAP Forms (for

Integration in eUP SAIS

students not covered under the new STFAP)

Preparation of activities for 1 st batch of students to be assigned brackets under the new STFAP

April

Preparation of guidelines

Acceptance and Processing

Acceptance and Processing

2013

and training materials for staff development

of STFAP Forms (for 1 st batch of students under the new STFAP)

of STFAP Forms (for students not covered under the new STFAP)

Training and staff development activities Introduction to the new STFAP

Processing and release of STFAP results

Processing and release of STFAP results

Bracket assignment

process Initial set of STFAP activities

May

Training and staff

Processing and release of

Acceptance and Processing

2013

development activities

STFAP results

of STFAP Forms (for

Operational audit Sampling

Acceptance of appeals

students not covered under the new STFAP)

Data gathering from

interviews

UCSFA meeting

Processing and release of

Data gathering from

STFAP results

HVs

Acceptance of appeals

Status report of implementation of STFAP from April to May 2013 in the UCSFA meeting

June

 

Acceptance of appeals

Acceptance and Processing

2013

of STFAP Forms (for

Processing of appeals and HVs

students not covered under the new STFAP)

Local CSFA meeting

Processing and release of STFAP results

Acceptance of appeals

Processing of appeals and HVs

Release of results of appeals

July

Study to re-structure OSSSS

Processing of appeals and

Acceptance and Processing

2013

and OSA organization

HVs

of STFAP Forms (for

Study to adjust and enhance student financial assistance

Release of results of appeals

students not covered under the new STFAP)

programs

Operational audit

Processing and release of STFAP results

Acceptance of appeals

Processing of appeals and HVs

August

Study to re-structure OSSSS

Release of results of appeals

Processing and release of

2013

and OSA organization

STFAP results

Operational audit

Study to adjust and enhance

Acceptance of appeals

student financial assistance programs

Processing of appeals and HVs

September

Study to re-structure OSSSS

Local CSFA meeting

Processing and release of

2013

and OSA organization

STFAP results

Study to adjust and enhance

Acceptance of appeals

student financial assistance programs

Processing of appeals and HVs

Local CSFA meeting

Release of results of appeals

October

Status report of

UCSFA meeting

UCSFA meeting

2013

implementation of STFAP from June to October 2013 in the UCSFA meeting

Presentation of findings of the study to restructure and adjust programs in UCSFA meeting

November

Implementation of the study

   

2013

to restructure the OSSS and OSAs and to adjust student financial assistance programs

Processing of appeals and HVs

December

Implementation of the study

 

Processing of appeals and

2013

to restructure the OSSS and

HVs

OSAs and to adjust student financial assistance

Local CSFA meeting

programs

Release of results of appeals

January

Implementation of the study

UCSFA meeting

UCSFA meeting

2014

to restructure the OSSS and OSAs and to adjust student financial assistance programs

Release of results of appeals

Status report of implementation of STFAP from November to January 2013 in UCSFA meeting

Preparation of program to fully implement new STFAP

February

Implementation of the study

Acceptance and Processing of STFAP Forms

2014

to restructure the OSSS and OSAs and to adjust student financial assistance programs

Preparation of program to fully implement new STFAP

March

Implementation of the study

Acceptance and Processing of STFAP Forms

2014

to restructure the OSSS and OSAs and to adjust student financial assistance programs

 

Training and Staff Development Activities Refresher Course

 

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