TACLOBAN CITY- Anticipating of possible decline of enrollment due to supertyphoon Yolanda, different college schools this city has introduced a “soft package” to students for the incoming school year. Edward Chua, chief executive officer of Asian Development Foundation (ADF), said that soft package was introduced to ensure that students could continue with their studies this school year. As part of the package, entrance fees of the school was drastically reduced from the previous P850 to just P500. Enrollment for the first semester of the 2014-2015 school year started first week of May and is to end by third week of June. Tacloban, considered the ground zero of Yolanda, has more than 20 colleges. “We know how difficult the situation is. That is why we have to implement a soft package for our students just to ensure that they will continue with their studies,” Chua said. Chua said that with the introduction of this scheme, they hope that their enrollment would not be drastically affected as he admitted that with present economic condition remain uncertain due to Yolanda, enrollment for this school year may decline. Students who came from Yolanda-hit areas are to pay P500 for entrance fee, Chua said. Pablo Amascual, chief administrative officer of the state-run Leyte Normal University, said that the school imposed a P500 entrance fee among students which they can even pay in staggered basis within the semester. LNU has an entrance fee of P1,200 for first year students and P800 for old and continuing students. More than 5,700 students were enrolled at LNU last school year. Edwin Basillo, Leyte Colleges vice president for administration, said that aside from enforcing a P500 enrollment fee, they would also allow students, particularly first year, not to buy school uniform to lessen financial cost of their parents. “We also shorten our class schedule from the previous 7:30 am to 8:30 pm to just 7:30 am to 4:30 pm to ensure that our students could go home early,” Basillo said. He said that many of their students who were previously living in boarding houses have to go home to their home towns like in Basey, Samar as their boarding houses were either damaged or destroyed during the supertyphoon. Meantime, the Saint Paul Business and Law School in Palo, Leyte introduced a “socialized discount,” said its president, Erwin Vincent Alcala. Those badly hit by Yolanda, he said, could receive a 100 percent discount from the existing P900 entrance fee. Palo is one of the hardest-hit areas in Leyte due to Yolanda. The school, the only college school in Palo, had more than 3,300 students last school year. (JOEY A. GABIETA)