Oh, I see. Thanks again for the free info!!!

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UP Survival Guide: STFAP Basics

Over many years of existence, the University of the Philippines system has become the institution for Filipinos from all walks of life who want a world-class education. For the less privileged, this often means getting into the Socialized Tuition and Financial Assistance Program or STFAP.

Known by its acronym or the moniker Iskolar ng Bayan Program, the STFAP aims to make a UP education more accessible to lower-income Filipinos. At the same time, the program tries to create a tuition fee structure that lets students pay only what they are able to afford. Ever since its establishment in SY 1989-1990, the STFAP has helped countless UP students finish their degrees in the university system.

Eligibility

The STFAP is open all Filipino citizens who’ll be enrolling in an undergraduate program within any campus. A bachelor’s degree in any program automatically disqualifies you from receiving subsidy, except when applying for a medical or law degree. Criminal, administrative or civil cases may also be grounds for disqualification from the program.

Students can use the STFAP in combination with other scholarships to fund tuition and other expenses. However, the STFAP will only give a subsidy amounting to a maximum of 1.5 times the difference between the printed STFAP subsidy rate and the non-STFAP rate. Many students take advantage of the STFAP in conjunction with other scholarships like the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) scholarships for science majors.

Application

Forms needed for applying to the STFAP program may be claimed for 10 pesos at any university campus, or can simply be downloaded from the STFAP site and printed. The accomplished forms must then be submitted to the STFAP office of the campus where you intend to enroll. Every STFAP application also requires the submission of various papers demonstrating financial need.

If you intend to apply for an STFAP subsidy, be ready with your entire family’s financial records. The application form asks an exhaustive list of questions regarding the earning capacity of every member of your household. All the household expenses and incomes must also be listed down and submitted. Utility bills, income tax returns and real property papers are also required attachments to the accomplished STFAP form.

STFAP applications are processed in batches starting with an early batch. The first batch of processed applications are released as early as a month prior to enrollment, while the last one is posted as late as a month into the semester.

The STFAP makes use of tiered alphabetized brackets, with each lettered tier symbolizing an income level for each student’s family. Upon enrollment, all UP students are assumed to belong to Bracket A – the bracket for families earning more than PhP1,000,000 each year – with its tuition rate of PhP1,500 per unit enrolled.

You can enter Bracket B – incomes of PhP500,000 to PhP1,000,000 – upon presentation of a signed certification and the necessary financial documents at validation. Otherwise, you’ll have to accomplish the STFAP application form and submit it to the STFAP office.

Benefits

Under the STFAP, you can get benefits with regard to tuition fee payments, laboratory fees and, in some cases, a monthly stipend from the university. The brackets with their corresponding benefits are as follows:

  • Bracket A (income of over PhP1,000,000 annually) students pay the full tuition fee at PhP1,500 per unit
  • Bracket B (income of PhP500,001 to PhP1,000,000 annually) students pay only the base tuition at PhP1,000 per unit
  • Bracket C (income of PhP250,001 to PhP500,000 annually) applicants pay 60% of the base tuition at PhP600 per unit
  • Bracket D (income of PhP135,001 to PhP250,000 annually) students pay 30% of the base tuition at PhP300 per unit
  • Bracket E1 (income of PhP80,001 to PhP135,000 annually) and Bracket E2 (income of PhP80,000 or less annually) students do not have to pay tuition fees. Additionally, Bracket E2 students get a monthly allowance valued at PhP12,000 every semester or about PhP2,400 every month.

Students categorized under Brackets A through D also have to pay full laboratory and miscellaneous fees amounting to about PhP2,000 upon enrollment.

Applications for the STFAP should be done prior to enrollment so that your benefits may be deducted from the amount you have to pay at the Office of the University Registrar (OUR). If your processed STFAP application is not yet available by the time you get to validation, you will have to pay the full tuition rate for the moment. Your STFAP benefits will be applied later on, and the university will issue a refund for the difference.

Maintenance

A student’s STFAP bracket is valid for the entire school year applied, and is renewable every year. In order to qualify for reapplication to the STFAP, you should

  • have a general weighted average (GWA) of at least 3.0 for the previous year
  • not have dropped more than one course or subject
  • receive grades in at least 15 units, not considering incomplete or dropped subjects

Be sure to ask questions well before deadlines. The staff at the STFAP offices are usually very helpful and will be glad to help you with queries and concerns. Once the deadline passes, however, they can do little to change your status until applications reopen.

UP Survival Guide: Diliman Campus Dorms

Of the tens of thousands of students who enroll every year into the University of the Philippines, many are not from the Quezon City area surrounding the campus. If you live outside the Metropolitan Manila limits, on-campus housing might be a better option for you to save both time and transport costs.

Locations

UP dormitories have a geographical advantage because they’re almost always in close proximity to campus hot spots. The Kalayaan Residence Hall in UP Diliman (the dorm for freshmen) , for one, is right beside the post office and the University Shopping Center. Staying at any one of the dorms makes it much easier to get to classes and other locations within campus quickly.

For more information about UP Dorms, Click Here:  UP Dorms

Most of the UP dorms are also part of the major jeepney routes that pass through the campus. In the Diliman campus, at least one jeepney route passes by each of the dorms – the Kalayaan Residence Hall is serviced by all six – making going around much easier.

Amenities

Each room has a capacity of two people, and comes furnished with beds, tables, chairs and a closet for the occupants. Even in co-ed dorms, only dormers of the same sex can occupy a single room. Power outlets and light fixtures are provided in each room. Each floor is equipped with communal bathrooms for each sex.

All the dorms have a common waiting area, usually at the ground floor, for the use of residents and their guests. 24-hour wireless connectivity is also available at some dorms, especially those within UP Diliman.

Requirements

Only enrolled students of each UP campus may apply to that campus’ residence halls. Application forms for hopeful residents are available at each campus’ Office of Student Housing (OSH), and must be filled out and submitted to be considered for a room at any of the dorms.

Because of the limited number of rooms, not all applicants are granted rooms. The OSH looks through all the applications and uses a point system to determine how much each student needs on-campus housing. More points are given to applicants whose homes are farther away from Quezon City, as well as to those with financial need. Applicants who score the highest points are given rooms at any one of the residence halls.

Not all the slots are taken, however. Should you fail to make it to the first list of accepted residents, your name may have landed on the waiting list. You will then have to wait for an accepted resident to relinquish his or her slot, or ask for a referral from him or her.

Applications are usually accepted right after enrollment, and the list of results are often available as early as two weeks before classes start. Accepted residence hall applicants will then have up to the first week of regular classes to confirm their slot at the dorm. Any dorm slots that have not been confirmed will be given to waitlisted applicants.

Other Alternatives

Although the on-campus housing is easily the most affordable option – the rent can be as little as 10% of what external dorms offer – it’s highly likely that you won’t be able to get a room. Many of those who are unable to secure a residence hall slot simply get rooms or a bedspace at any one of the numerous locations around campus.

Every UP campus is surrounded by boarding houses and dorms that accept students for a semester or a full year. Amenities and accommodations can vary widely, and the rent can go anywhere from PhP2,000 per month for a bed space to PhP20,000 per month for a fully furnished premium room.

UP Survival Guide: Registration Process

The registration and enrollment process is seen as a rite of passage for every freshman at the University of the Philippines. Although some changes have been made thanks to the use of technology at some steps, the registration procedure is largely unchanged from the one used decades ago.

CRS and Enlistment

Everything starts with the computerized registration system or CRS, a recent addition to the process that lets students sign up for subjects online. Freshmen have an advantage in CRS because they have an earlier enlistment date, and so have priority for general education or GE subjects.

Students log on to the CRS online interface and select subjects from the list of available classes. The instructor, schedule and classroom are listed on the system along with the class code, subject restrictions and course weight in units. Once the online enlistment period is over, the system will then give final slots to students at random.

Take, for example, an English 1 class with a capacity of 30. Even if 39 other people had already enlisted for English 1, you will still be able to sign up on CRS for that subject but will not be guaranteed a slot. Once online enlistment is over, the 30 slots will be given at random to the 40 people who signed up for English 1, regardless of order. Coming early does not give you an advantage with CRS.

Registration Day

Formal registration opens two to three weeks before the start of regular classes, during which time you should go to the OUR and get your Form 5A. Your Form 5A will be the official record for all your enrolled classes, and is a valuable document for all students.

Once the registration and enrollment period starts, students can also perform enlistment at the Office of the University Registrar (OUR) itself. However, all slots that were taken during online enlistment will already be occupied, and the selection will be much, much narrower. You can immediately get into any classes that have not yet been filled on enlistment day.

Should you find yourself still short of units but without any more slots for enlistment, you can also go around the campus to do what’s known as pre-rog. With pre-rog, you can personally approach the instructor whose class you want to enter, and then ask him or her to include you in the class list and sign your Form 5A. Manually signing up for classes this way can sometimes get you into classes that have been listed as already full.

Freshmen can usually finish enrolling in a few hours thanks to the special procedure that’s afforded them. For non-freshmen, on the other hand, registration and enrollment can take up to two full weeks, especially when many subjects must be taken via pre-rog.

Payments

After all your enrolled classes have been recorded on your Form 5A, the form must be taken to the OUR for validation and payment. The validation counter will check your Form 5A and your scholarship status (if any) to determine how much tuition you should pay. The validation counter must be visited before the cashier, as your payment will not be accepted without an authorized validation signature.

Once your Form 5A has been validated, it’s time to queue for payments. The OUR has its own windows that accepts enrollment payments, but payments can also be made at the Cashier’s Office located near the Shopping Center. Once you’ve paid and your Form 5A has been signed by the cashier, you’re officially a UP student for a full semester.

Reminders

  • Dress comfortably. Chances are good that you’ll be walking long distances and waiting in line for hours. Wear comfortable clothes and shoes you can walk in.
  • Don’t hesitate to ask. You lose a lot of time when you line up at the wrong queue or do things in the wrong order. Save time by asking the student assistants or guards so that you only have to do everything once.
  • Keep your Form 5A. The consequences of losing your Form 5A are disastrous. Keep it safe where it won’t get lost or damaged. And yes, you may fold it.
  • Watch out for lunch hour. Like all government offices, the OUR and all offices in UP have a lunch hour that starts at 12. Plan your day accordingly.
  • Be early. If you’re a non-freshman, you’ll be enrolling with thousands of other students. The earlier you get to the lines, the easier it’ll be to get subjects and the sooner you’ll finish.

Is UP for You? Assesing Your Chances in UP

is up for you

A UP diploma may indeed be a great weapon to wield come your entry in the job market.  Nevertheless, one important thing you should consider is –  can you handle UP life and a UP education?  Do you have what it takes to undergo the 4 or 5 years of UP courses, UP programs and intensive instruction that a UP diploma requires?

Many a UP student have found out the hard way that underestimating the discipline and perseverance required to finish a UP program could have far-reaching effects in their lives and that, in such cases, it would’ve been better if they have pursued a course in some other less demanding university.  After all, graduating on time and with honors can pull just about the same weight as having a UP diploma, without honors, after more than 7 years of study.

So before you set your sights on that formidable job-hunting weapon – the UP diploma or a UP-acquired degree – be sure to consider the following:

FFx20 UP Education

Are you built for super fast-forward and intensive education?  UP education is delivered incredibly fast and without any patience towards those who lag behind.  So what took 2 weeks to be taught in your high school is only taught for about 2 days in UP.  Where before, a book is used for the whole year in your high school, in UP, it will be discussed and included in the exam in the span of 1-1/2 months.  Furthermore, the reading lists for individual UP courses are typically as long as an arm.

The teacher comes in, dispenses the information needed, uses about 8 blackboards for notes, asks if there are any questions, and then exits the room to go back to his cubicle after the bell rings (by the way, no actual bells will ring; you’ll know the class period is about to end because your classmates will be fidgeting a few minutes before time).  Typically, lessons that were not discussed but were on the syllabus and the readings assigned are included in exams.  By the way, there are typically three long exams in an individual UP subject, with many a short quizzes spread throughout the duration of the term.

To make a long story short, if you’re setting your sights on the University of the Philippines, better be prepared for a lot of self-studying and fast-forward learning and reading.

Freedom Galore

Freedom, a glorious word and principle – especially for those who grew up in girls-only schools, super strict Catholic schools or small-town schools where everybody knows everybody and every move you make gets recorded in the town’s ‘logbook’.

In UP, university professors generally don’t care about what your wear in class, what your hairstyle is and what you do after class.  Hell some profs dont even care if you come to class at all.  Just be there for the exams, pass those exams, pass your projects on time, and be there for the occasional recitation, and there should be no problems.

You can smoke [in some places] inside the campus [but not inside buildings], cut classes, join rallies and demonstrations, be a part of orgs and fraternities, come to school dressed in a Spiderman costume, sleep in class – and nobody will care.  There are no curfews, no monitors, you can stay up late, drink with your friends every night or play Ragnarok till the wee hours of the morning, and nobody will know [unless the landlady is a family friend].  Of course, it’s a different story if you live in an in-campus, university-administered dorm where curfews are enforced; nevertheless, UP dormers typically find a way around dormitory rules – say, they stay out overnight.

You can be failing in class and your professor won’t nag you.  You can be sleeping on park benches and your landlady won’t care [as long as you pay the rent].  You can be spending more time in your student organization’s tambayan than in class and your orgmates won’t give a flying fark.

Fact is, UP freedom is a double edged sword.  You can use it to hone your maturity and sense of responsibility, or you can use it to dig your own dream’s grave [there goes your dream of graduating with honors and on time – or even graduating from college at all].

The bottomline:  UP will give you lots of choices.  UP students are free to make their decisions.  However, freedom also means freedom to make grave mistakes.  If you are not confident that you can handle your freedom in UP, better bring along your mom to UP or choose a university closer to home.

Lost in a Sea of Minds

If before you were regarded as the class genius or the school prodigy, be prepared to be one of the thousands of faceless students when you come to UP.  A lot more than half of the people in UP will be just like you – the achievers and the honor students in their high school graduating class.

Here, you won’t be as smug as before when half the class is still catching up and you’re already through.  Chances are high that you will find ten or more people who are smarter than you in every one of your UP classes.  You won’t be singled out or placed on a pedestal to be emulated and admired.  And you sure as hell won’t be given any doggie treats or special privileges.  Most of the time, you’ll be there crawling with the rest, hoping against hope that you will get at least a “three” – the passing mark.

In other words, if you prefer stardom and special status, kiss UP goodbye and settle for a smaller university.  Of course, if you’re one of the few real geniuses out there, there’s a chance that you’ll still stand out from the crowd.

The University of Pila

The registration/enrollment process of UP itself every semester is a recurring nightmare where only the fittest [have the most kapal ng mukha], the most determined, the ones with the highest levels of endurance and stamina survive to enroll their required units.  Those who make it through the university are no stranger to very long lines and probably know every dirty tactic that has ever been invented for outwitting other people who want the same academic units.  UP is after all not called the University of Pila for nothing.

Of course, the situation has improved somewhat with the introduction of the CRS Online (Computer Registration System) when students have to be on virtual lines or pila for their desired slots.  Nevertheless, those who don’t get their desired slots online still have to suffer through the long lines to get their desired UP courses.

In short, if you think you don’t have what it takes to physically fight for your right to have a slot in any of your required UP subjects, or if you have a fear of crowds or a fear of growing old in long lines, maybe it would be better to reconsider your decision to study in UP.

Conclusion:

What do you face in UP?

The specter of 4-5 years of mental torture, the risk of destroying yourself with too much freedom, the loss of your former special or star status, and the need to fight tooth and nail for your slot every semester.

Is it worth it?

Oh yes.  If you are smart (street-smart, that is) and mature enough to judge what’s good for you and what’s not, a UP education is still worth all the hardships it comes with.  A UP education is still undoubtedly the best brand of college education there is in the country, not only because of the exceptional quality of the university’s academics, but also because of the education that you will get outside UP classrooms.  In UP, you will have a lot of opportunity to learn self-reliance, common sense, teamwork, responsibility, ingenuity, and self discipline.

Think hard and think long.  Look before you leap and take honest stock of your weaknesses and strengths.  A UP diploma is great to have – if you’re strong enough to earn it.

ps.  you might also want to read about UP culture shock.:)