Those who joined in 2006-07 paid excess fee of Rs. 1 lakh

The State government’s recent directive to reimburse the “excess fee” collected by private engineering colleges hardly holds water.

Going by the government’s poor track record in refunding fees, and the fact that students from batches as old as the 2006-07 batch are yet to receive their dues, students and parents are unlikely to place their bets on this money.

Till date, as many as 5,000-odd engineering graduates have become victims of the inordinate delay by the State government in refunding the money under “higher fee/lower fee and fee subsidy” scheme implemented in 2006. Years after passing out, students are still waiting for the fee refund.

Many schemes

The scheme was introduced by the Janata Dal (Secular)-Bharatiya Janata Party coalition government, which had ordered a three-tier fee system.

Seats allotted through the Karnataka Common Entrance Test (CET) were divided into two categories. While students of one category paid Rs. 65,000 as fee and students of the other category paid fee totalling Rs. 90,000 each year.

However, the scheme was discontinued in 2007.

The “higher fee” category was to be reimbursed Rs. 1 lakh. In the 2008 annual State budget, Rs. 8 crore was allocated for the purpose but transactions were not made. In 2009, despite the Higher Education Department announcing that the amount would soon be transferred to students’ bank accounts, nothing materialised.

In 2010, the department urged the government to allocate Rs. 44 crore so that students can be refunded excess fee paid. However, there was no development after that.

As of today, students in at least 50 per cent of the colleges affiliated to Visvesvaraya Technological University (VTU) have received only two instalments i.e., Rs. 50,000 each. Two more instalments are pending.

Endless wait

Those like Shreyas Babu have tried to move on. Mr. Babu, who graduated in 2010, has completed MS and is now pursuing MBA in the United States of America. While exploring the expensive prospect of studying abroad, he was hoping for the Rs. 50,000 to be returned, but in vain.

Official’s reaction

When contacted, Siddaiah, Principal Secretary, Department of Higher Education, said, “Yes, there are some arrears pending. We are awaiting for approval from the Finance Department.”

However, the students, parents and colleges are not buying this. One college official, on the condition of anonymity, said, “The Principal Secretary in the department has changed at least four times since this scheme was introduced and all of them have said the same thing.”

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