Many managements feel a large number of seats may go vacant otherwise

Engineering colleges that argued for a steep hike in fee structure and got the nod from the Admission and Fee Regulation Committee (AFRC) now want the fee to be reduced as they fear that a large number of seats may go vacant because of the ‘uncertainty’ over fee reimbursement scheme.

Most colleges that were awarded fee structure in the range of Rs. 55,000 to Rs. 75,000 now want the officials to bring it down to Rs. 35,000 – the fee fixed for nearly 300 colleges. A senior official, not wishing to be quoted, informed that over one lakh seats are sure to go vacant for want of students, and the continuing controversy over the fee reimbursement scheme.

About 50 colleges have approached the AFRC thus far, but it had refused to change the fee structure. Instead, it had asked the college managements to approach the government and seek remedy there as the current fee structure would be in vogue for three years.

Students too are disinclined to pay a higher fee in colleges considered ‘average’ as they are assured of a seat for Rs. 35,000 in similar colleges. Last year, admission records too reveal that seats were not filled in colleges that went for higher fee except the top 30 or 40 colleges.

Last year, the AFRC fixed Rs. 35,000 fee for 258 engineering colleges while 176 colleges secured fee structure over Rs. 35,000.

Among these 176 colleges only a few crossed the Rs. 1 lakh mark. CBIT Gandipet topped with the highest fee of Rs. 1,13,300 while Vasavi College of Engineering settled for Rs. 1,09,300. Fee hovered around Rs. 80,000 to Rs. 90,000 in a few others. But several colleges that were allowed to collect between Rs. 50,000 and Rs. 80,000 now fear loss of students and thereby money.

“The top colleges will continue to attract best students despite the higher fee, but middle-level colleges with poor faculty and placements will lose out,” observes JNTU Hyderabad Registrar, N.V. Ramana Rao.