On May 19, students at Anil Surendra Modi School of Commerce (ASMSOC) – which is part of the Narsee Monjee Institute of Management (NMIMS) – received an email from the university asking them to pay Rs 2,74,000 as college fee in one instalment by June 6. Failure to do so, the email says, would lead to a fine of Rs 100 per day.
Devastated, students have been writing letters to the administration asking that the make a concession because of the lockdown. However, the administration, students say, has been unresponsive ever since.
“It’s quite unreasonable to ask for such a heavy amount in this time of pandemic. I come from a self-employed family and the certainty of injection of income is not cleared due to the lockdown and its consequences that it’ll have on the economy,” a student told @under25news, an Instagram page that covers issues related to the youth.
Recently, the University Grants Commission (UGC) – higher education regulator – issued guidelines for colleges (both public and private) to not demand fees at the moment, and consider “alternative payment options”.
“It is requested, that in view of the prevailing extraordinary difficult circumstances, universities and colleges may consider the matter regarding payment of annual/semester fee, tuition fee, examination fee, etc. sympathetically and if feasible, may consider offering alternative payment options to students till the situation returns to normal,” the UGC secretary told colleges and universities.
Despite that ASMSOC has asked students to pay the full amount all at once. “Our college has been absolutely oblivious to the situation that the world is going through,” said another student.
Students say that the college should allow them to pay in instalments instead of asking for such an “exorbitant amount”.
“We understand the college needs money to start the next semester but it can converted into four quarterly instalments and it would help in taking off the pressure from our parents. I am not questioning the cost of education but the fact that we have been pushed to the corner and being asked to pay such a heavy amount is not fair,” the student added.
The fee structure for private institutions, students say, is already high and therefore colleges should consider the students’ grievances, especially in times like these. Moreover, since the university is conducting classes online and resources such classrooms, electricity, water etc, are no longer in use – the fee can be reduced by 25% to 20%, a student said.
According to the students, if the university doesn’t provide any relief, they would have to leave the institution and start over.
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