In some institutes, vacancy goes beyond 90 per cent as students opt for established names

Over 70 per cent of seats in the 20 engineering colleges that were started this year remain vacant. Many students have trumped courses in these new institutions in favour of reputed colleges.

The new colleges had surrendered 60 per cent of their seats to Tamil Nadu Engineering Admissions when counselling began.

Of the 3,456 seats available through general academic counselling, nearly 3,157 seats were vacant as per the data available on Tamil Nadu Engineering Admissions (TNEA) 2012 website a day before counselling got over.

“In some colleges, the vacancy position goes beyond 90 per cent,” says D. Nedunchezhian, consultant, Technocrats India College Finder. The AICTE had approved 32 new colleges this year, of which 12 are architecture colleges and the rest, engineering institutions. Nearly 1.4 lakh students were allotted engineering seats in over 500 colleges across the State as TNEA’s general counselling came to an end last week.

A lot of expenditure is incurred in establishing a college, and this is especially so, in the case of colleges that are not part of an established trust.

For instance, Prof. Sasi, principal of Sri Ramakrishna College of Engineering, 25 km from Ariyalur, says though his is one of the few colleges in the district, many seats are vacant.

“It takes time for a college to establish and gain in reputation. Though we have good laboratories and faculty members who were appointed before the college started, we have very few students,” he says. The principal is, however, relieved that his college has done better than many other newer colleges opened in southern part of the State.

Officials from other college managements blame the delay in approvals as the reason for the large number of vacant seats. “We were informed about the approval only in the beginning of June. We did not even have time to advertise properly,” says the principal of a college in Pollachi.

Colleges that are under the fold of established trusts that already run many other institutes have little to worry about.

For instance, V. Ganesan, chairman of Vedanta Institute of Technology, says though only about 50 seats have been filled in his college, he does not see a reason to worry, because the management runs nearly 38 colleges across the State.

“Students who opt for new colleges are mostly poor scorers who are not well informed about what choices to make,” says Mr. Nedunchezhian. He also points out that since engineering is an expensive course, most students want to ensure they get admitted into a college with a good placement record.

Most of the new colleges have four operational branches of engineering that include computer science, mechanical engineering, ECE and electrical engineering.

“Streams that demand more investment like chemical or civil engineering are introduced only at a later stage. We also predicted IT would go out of favour this time, so we did not offer that branch,” says a professor of a college in Kancheepuram.

This year, there are 15,000 more takers for engineering, as compared to 2011. There were more seats than required and students had ample choice, says a TNEA official. “Most reputed colleges applied for an increase in seats. Colleges that began with just 200 seats in 2008, have up to 700 seats now,” he says.