Our niece Donnabel has been accepted at Central Philippine University (CPU) in Iloilo City. CPU is considered to be one of the better Philippine colleges. Donnabel will be enrolled in a four year accounting degree program.
We know many foreigners are interested in supporting college educations for Filipino relatives so we’ll provide some first hand information on what it should cost.
We paid Donnabel’s Central Philippines University tuition and fees for the first semester of the 2012-13 school year. The charge was P16,697 for tuition and fees plus a P375 student fee or about US$400 per semester.
Initially we were thinking that Donnabel could continue to live with us and commute to CPU. This would allow us to monitor and be involved in Donnabel’s education, but once we found out that Donnabel’s first semester classes would begin at 8:00am and finish at 7:10pm we realized that commuting would not really be feasible, since we live in Tigbauan, Iloilo, about 25KM and three jeepney rides from CPU. We were hoping that we could get Donnabel a place in CPU’s Weston dormitory for women. We visited the dorm. It seemed like a great environment, but unfortunately there were no vacancies.
Our visit to the Weston dorm presented another example of the impressive administration of CPU. Wherever we went at CPU there always seemed to be a student assigned to answer visitor questions. These students were polite, informed and fluent in English. Impressive!
With no room at the women’s dorm we visited a few boarding houses near the CPU campus. These boarding houses provide spartan, economical housing to students. We selected one very close to the campus. Each small room accommodates four female students in two bunk beds. Each student has a locker but there is little room for anything else, including desks. Bathrooms are down the hall and shared. The boarding house we chose costs P1,500 per month per student for a non-air-conditioned accommodation and P2,000 (plus electricity) for air con spaces. Drinking water is an additional P25 per week. There are no cooking facilities but residents are allowed to have a hot pot or rice cooker which will be used to cook “ramen” noodles — a staple of college students world-wide.
One of my sons attended Stony Brook University on Long Island, New York. The cost of housing for students there was and continues to be a huge problem. The idea of a $35 per month student accommodation, however spartan, is astounding.
Donnabel will have a few more expenses. Her food allowance will likely be about P100 per day. She’ll have to buy textbooks. So, it looks like about P80,000 per year in total or nearly $2,000 US per year.
We accompanied Donnabel during the Central Philippine University registration process. It was all amazingly similar to what I remember as a student fifty years ago and what I experienced as a parent. Many of the parents arrived in SUVs, just like at home, and the parents went from office to office with their children like mother hens wanting to make sure that everything went well for their chicks about to leave their nests. Just as I remember it from my past, the process was horribly crowded and chaotic with hundreds or thousand of students and parents jamming every office. Still, we give credit to CPU. The information office and the students working there were genuinely helpful. Everyone, staff, kids and parents were pretty patient despite the heat, the crowds and the endless waits. In many ways, Filipinos are the most civilized people on earth.