Though relieved that they can pursue engineering after a two-month delay, anxiety and uncertainty over the fees charged by the college was still writ large on the faces of the diploma students who had gathered in the city for the lateral entry admission into engineering courses through Common Entrance Test (CET) held here on Thursday.

Around 400 students turned up to the Helpline centre in National Institute of Technology-Karnataka in Surathkal to handover their demand drafts and gain entry into the second-year of engineering courses. The results of the online counselling process were announced on Wednesday.

Students who paid Rs. 38,090 for private colleges and Rs. 18,090 for aided colleges to the Karnataka Education Authority officials, were shocked when college managements asked for an additional amount to be paid to the college.

Almost every student who spoke to The Hindu said their college had sought extra money as “library fee”, or “canteen fee” and so on. A college in Ujire, for example, charged Rs. 13,000, while even aided colleges in Bangalore were charging Rs. 19,000 (which is double of what is prescribed in the KEA website).

Mangalore Institute of Technology and Engineering in Moodbidri, for example, charged Rs. 25,000 as library fee, wi-fi fee, canteen fee, laboratory fee among others. When contacted, an administrative officer of the college said: “Every college takes a fee based on how much they have spent on the buildings, laboratory, hiring good faculty. Every year, the student has to pay this fee over and above the Government-fixed fee.”

Students were caught unawares when they went to the college immediately after admissions – as the deadline for reporting in the college was October 1. Some students who did not have the means to pay this amount, returned to the Helpline centre to lodge their complaint.

Suresh Tunga, Nodal Officer of KEA, confirmed receiving numerous complaints by students and parents about this additional fee. “Even Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe students who don’t have to pay any amount as processing fee to KEA, are being charged by private colleges. But, we’re helpless. We can direct them to lodge an official complaint, but most parents and students do not want to take up as it would ‘disrupt their child’s future’,” he said.

H. Siddaiah, Principal Secretary of Higher Education, told The Hindu that any fee charged by colleges apart from the money given to KEA on the day of admissions was “not legal”. “The fee structure is fixed by the Government, and colleges cannot charge more than this,” he said.

He added that if students faced harassment or were made to pay extra for their fee, they should register their complaint with the KEA, Visvesvaraya Technological University (VTU).

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