Maharashtra: Fee charged by unaided private medical colleges in the state has been slashed by 20 percent by the state’s Fee Regulating Authority. The decision for lowering the fee of colleges was taken when the authorities discovered that colleges were showing a false rise in expenditure, to charge more money from students on the basis of non existing expenses.
The Fee regulation authority(FRA) has also decided to stop colleges from making any changes in the fee structure in the second year of the courses.
The FRA or Shulka Niyamat Samiti (earlier called Shikshan Shulka Samiti) established in 2004, is a fee regulating body for all private unaided medical colleges of the state. Colleges submit a course plan every year, with proposals for change in the fee structure. The FRA looks into aspects like nature of course number of students, teaching and non-teaching staff, infrastructure and other facilities at the college before taking a decision of fixation of fee. “The colleges are generally allowed a 10% fee hike every year,” said Ravi Dahad, a member of FRA told HT
It is the first time that the authorities have fixed the fee for the current academic year, he added. “The students are yet to know the exact fee for the course at the time of admission, because FRA will decide on the fee structure well after admissions. But we have now fixed the fees for the ongoing session as well as the upcoming year,” he said.
Giving a reassurance, Dahad added that students at most of the unaided medical colleges will be paying a fee less than that asked for in 2015-16.
“In normal courses, the colleges would have increased the fees by 20% but we have reduced it by 20% instead,” he informed. While fee in some colleges has been reduced by 50%, there are other institutions where there has been a hike .
Colleges on their part claimed that they had yet to receive a word from the FRA on the reduction decision . According to sources the decision to reduce fee in colleges had been taken due to these institutions charging students for non existent expenditure.
“We found many colleges illegally charging students for using the library, laboratories and for identity cards. Some have inflated their electricity bills, while others the number of staff members. In some cases, colleges showed fake admission reports of reserved category students to receive benefits from the government’s social justice departments,” said the source.
The parents and students however, have welcomed the FRA’s fee reduction decision.They have for long been struggling against the high cost of education in professional colleges. “We had requested the FRA to reduce the fees in medical colleges as they were misusing the money. I am very happy about their decision,” said Sudha Shenoy, a parent.
Unaided institutions affected by the decision responded by saying, “The authority hasn’t explained why it reduced the fees. The number of students have drastically reduced this year but the expenditure has not changed, as we can’t sack our existing staff. We have properly audited our accounts,” Zaheer Kazi, President, Anjuman-i-Islam told HT. This Muslim body runs several professional institutes in the city and suburbs.