On June 16, the students of Amity University Mumbai wrote a joint letter to the vice chancellor requesting a concession in the semester fee – which includes a 5% hike among other demands. The university has asked students to pay the fee – which ranges from Rs 50, 000 to more than Rs 2 lakh for some courses – by July 20.
“While the world is battling a global pandemic that has created massive havoc, the students of Amity University Mumbai are being subjected to an irrational demand for massive fees,” reads the letter.
Since most families, students say, aren’t in a condition to pay the fee at the moment, student representatives from 17 departments decided to conduct an extensive online survey to assess the financial situation of the students. The survey got a total of 1,089 response, which included some “shocking insights” with regard to the impact of pandemic on families and guardians across the country.
According to the survey, students come from diverse financial backgrounds and most of them have had a difficult time managing expenses ever since the lockdown was announced. Parents working in private companies have received a salary cut of around 50-60 %, and some have also been laid off. Those working in government sectors have had to donate some amount to the PM-CARES fund in addition to pay cuts. Medical expenses, the survey states, have also gone up for many in the past one month – especially those who contracted COVID-19.
Hostel and transport fee
Moreover, students who avail hostel and transport facility have been asked to pay for the same, even though they have not used the provision for the months of April and May.
Here’s what the students have demanded in the survey:
Given the fact there are several resident students who stay in campus hostels, 94.5% of these students demanded a 20% concession in hostel fees. Furthermore, 87.3% of the students who depend on the bus transport facility provided by AUM claimed that they had not used the provision for the months of April and May.
Additionally, 87. 7% of the students strongly believe that demanding for a refund in hostel and transport fees for the months of April and May is reasonable.
The other demands include a 50% reduction of the fee and an extension in last date of fee submission to at least the last week of August.
Apart from emailing the letter and the survey to the vice chancellor and the registrar of the university, students also reached out to the University Grants Commission, All Indian Council for Technical Education (AICTE), the chief minister of Maharashtra and the ministry of human resource and development. However, none of them have responded as yet.
Fee demand in other universities
Amity University Mumbai isn’t the only college asking for massive fee around this time.
Students at Lucknow University also sent a letter to their administration requesting them let them pay the examination fee, in instalments, after conducting an online video-conference where over 100 students spoke about their poor financial condition in the wake of the pandemic.
Similarly, the Anil Surendra Modi School of Commerce (ASMSOC) – which is part of the Narsee Monjee Institute of Management (NMIMS) – also asked students to pay Rs 2,74,000 as college fee in one instalment.
Early in May, Panjab University had also proposed to hike its fee by 7.5% but they had to defer it after students made a representation to the administration opposing the decision.
Meanwhile, students and parents at Amity University, Mumbai have been writing emails to the authority seeking concession.
Featured image credit: Facebook/Amity University Mumbai