Campus placements are often a point of pride for educational institutions, but they come at a price for students.

Though the practice of collecting a ‘placement fee’ is not new, it has come into focus now that the State government has ordered a probe into the matter.

While some colleges collect the fee for “training” students for campus placements, others demand a portion of the first salary.

Colleges that collect training fees claim to give students extensive details about the selection process.

Officials of BNM Institute of Technology, Bangalore, said: “Students undergo rigorous training and structured programmes such as communication skills [training] and aptitude tests. About 85 per cent of eligible candidates are selected for jobs in reputed companies.”

However, they refused to divulge details about the amount collected for the programme.

Officials at the placement cell in University Visvesvaraya College of Engineering, a constituent college of Bangalore University, reasoned: “Students who approach the cell to participate in the placement process are given opportunities to get placed in some of the best companies in the city.”

They said they charge Rs. 2,500 “maintenance fee” from students for the first job offer, as the students are allowed to take up to five such offers.

Students disappointed

While the placement cells speak highly of their success rates, some students seemed to be dissatisfied not only with the fee charged, but also the opportunities given to them.

An alumnus of R.N. Shetty Institute of Technology who was unhappy with the placements in his college said, “I was disappointed with the placements in my college as I did not get satisfactory offers.

A student of Dayananda Sagar College of Engineering, on condition of anonymity, said: “Although the companies that come to college are good, nobody knows what posts will be offered.”

A student from BNM Institute of Technology said: “They collected placement training fees when we joined college and from what I’ve been seeing, once you get placed, you have to pay the placement cell depending on your package. This can range from Rs. 3,000 to Rs. 5,000. We were surprised when we saw this as they had collected the training fee when we joined college. I think that the placement training fee is okay for students who gain a lot out of these training programmes such as communication skills and approach to interviews. However, I think it is wrong on the college’s part to collect a fee after you are placed because you get placed solely on your merit.”

‘Beneficial’

A student from University Visvesvaraya College of Engineering said he didn’t mind paying the placement fee.

He said, “I don’t think it’s expensive because it’s the duty of each student to contribute to the placement cell funds. It’s a one-time payment and it’s not a huge amount on the whole because the student is being placed in a good company. The placement cell is extremely beneficial to students from what I’ve seen and it is efficient.”