Freshmen enrollment down by 5%

THE THOMASIAN community continues to grow in number despite the general decline in private school enrollment although the number of freshmen enrollees decreased this semester.

As of June 19, a total of 41,653 students have enrolled in the University, up from last year’s 40,651, which translates to a 2.46 percent increase.

However, the number of freshmen enrollees dropped to 12,627 from the previous year’s 13,324, or a decline of 5.23 percent.

In the last five years, only this semester has seen a decrease in freshmen enrollees.

Data from the Registrar’s Office showed that in the first semester of academic year 2006-2007, the University admitted 10,271 freshmen enrollees. In 2007-2008, the number rose to 12,765 and in 2008-2009, 13,132. Last year, there were 13, 324 first-year students.

Mecheline Zonia Manalastas, director of the Office for Admissions, said tougher student selectivity caused the decline in freshmen enrollment this year.

“The [Office for Academic Affairs and Research] was really very strict when it comes to the number of students per classroom. It would prefer that the ideal [number of students] be from 45 to 50 as it wants to give quality education,” Manalastas said.

The decrease in freshmen enrollees was not because of the four percent tuition increase, she added.

“The four percent [tuition increase] is nothing,” she said.

“Our tuition is still very competitive. It is not the issue. The way I look at it, with the number of applicants, our tuition is affordable. We cater to (the) A, B, C and also the D social classes because of the scholarship,” she added.

The four-percent increase in tuition was for the improvement of facilities in the different colleges and to maintain a good learning environment, she said.

Manalastas also said that despite the decrease in freshmen enrollees, all colleges met the target number of students.

She attributed the low enrollment turnout to the disruption caused by storm “Ondoy” that devastated parts of Luzon in September last year.

“Our enrollment did not decrease this academic year,” said Clarita Carillo, Vice Rector for Academic Affairs and Research in a letter to the Varsitarian. “In fact, the report shows an increase of at least a thousand in student population,” she added.

Carillo did not comment on the decline in freshmen enrollment and tougher student selectivity set by her office.

For this academic year, the college with the highest number of enrollees is the Faculty of Engineering with 6,658 students, while the Faculty of Canon Law has the least number, with 50 enrollees. Jilly Anne A. Bulauan and Justinne Chynna V. Garcia

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