Rolling with the enrolment season

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By Shirley Maghari

Moms & FQ

Wednesday, May 21, 2014


IT’S that inevitable season again—this enrolment time—when mothers go to school to pay the tuition of their children.

Fathers, on the other hand, rack their brains on how else to increase their income because Inday or Toto is now going to college.

Skype usage is spiking as more and more exchanges occur between the inspiration (the dependent student) and the inspired financer abroad.

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The Philippine Star reported last May 17 that the Department of Education (DepEd) has approved the application of 1,299 private elementary and secondary schools to increase their tuition this coming school year.

DepEd said the figure could still go up before classes open in June as four more regions have yet to submit their reports. A total of 1,477 schools have applied for tuition hike for school year 2014-2015.

The Western Visayas region has the most number of schools increasing their fees at 311.

The increase ranges between 1.35 percent and 35 percent, meaning that if you’re currently paying P30,000 per year for your child’s education, be prepared to pay an extra of at least P405 to P10,500! And that’s not counting the increase in cost of the miscellaneous fees, books, other school supplies and uniforms!

It is no wonder that without proper preparation for this annual scrambling event, stress rises to the level beating the heat of the summer.

No one plans to fail, but many fail to plan. It’s not that we’re not concerned or worried, it’s just that after the initial scrambling and the dust starts to settle, we become preoccupied with the usual daily grind.

That is, until examination time comes and we need to settle the accounts again.

So in the light of better planning, here are some of my tips that may help you:
*Expect that tuition will increase every year. If it doesn’t, then hallelujah and light a candle for that miracle. Then keep that extra money for the possible field trip, prom event, or allergic reaction to a canteen meal.

*Pay in annual mode, if you can. Some schools give discounts to as much as 10 percent. Again, you can still use that 10 percent for other needs. Plus, your beloved student does not have to suffer anxiety attacks every impending exam schedule, worrying whether you have paid the bill or not.
*Recycle badges and patches. Don’t be embarrassed to ask your friend for those badges or patches that their kids have used before. These usually become useless to the owner as he/she moves to the next level even if he/she has not yet outgrown his/her uniform.
*Ask whether your school management buys uniforms by bulk. Many schools are now in partnership with tailors who mass-produce uniforms, thereby making the procurement of our kids’ uniforms easier (you will know the right fit right there and then) and less costly.
*Know when to buy. Have you noticed that the word “SALE!!!” is a monthly occurrence? Do not be lured by the seemingly urgent message that the word conveys. Just because your child is moving to the next level doesn’t mean he has to get a new one of everything.

At the end of the school year, start doing an inventory of your child’s stuff such as shoes, socks, bag, uniform and other supplies that may still be used in the following year. This way, you will have your own list of what you have in hand and not be psychologically pushed into buying everything on the list that the school provided you with.

You can still complete your list without collapsing under the strain of the cost if you can schedule the items in specific months. Items like school shoes and rubber shoes for P. E. classes may be divided into 3 to 6 months interval so that your budget won’t suffer much if both were bought at the same time. Choose quality items as they would give you more value for money but don’t splurge either because those adorable little darlings grow so fast!

We all believe that a good education is a great help in securing our children’s future. We work hard to make sure they get into the good school and that they can enjoy all the opportunities that could aid them in building their own lives someday. But while they’re still in our care and we are still bearing most of the cost, it pays to have a little planning before the statement of account hits us again on the forehead.

***

Shirley Maghari is a wife and mother of two. She actively advocates personal, organizational, and financial management though her involvement with the Junior Chamber International Philippines as past regional training director, the People Management Association of the Philippines, the Philippine Mental Health Association, and as financial adviser of Manulife Philippines.

For feedback, email her at jci_shirleymaghari@yahoo.com

Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on May 21, 2014.

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