Launched in 2009-10, the scheme provides free education for one student each in the 70 departments of the university and five students each in many of its affiliated colleges.

The University of Madras will implement its free education scheme for poor students for the third successive year.

Launched in 2009-10, the scheme provides free education for one student each in the 70 departments of the university and five students each in many of its affiliated colleges.

In the first two years, 600 students from 80 affiliated colleges have been admitted through the scheme.

Poor, meritorious students whose parents’ income is below Rs. 2 lakh per annum and who do not own a land or house in the districts of Chennai, Kancheepuram and Tiruvallur are eligible to apply for the scheme, and the schools should recommend them for higher studies.

This year, 384 applications were received and counselling was held to verify ration card, income certificates and mark sheets after which 124 students were handed over admission cards through the principals and correspondents of respective colleges at a function held at the university on Monday.

The students would be exempted from payment of tuition and boarding fees. The university spends Rs. 4.50 lakh per annum towards the scheme and the managements of the affiliated colleges pay for the students joining their college under it, said G. Thiruvasagam, Vice-Chancellor. For affiliated colleges, students are asked to choose three colleges located closer to their homes.

“As most of these students may not get into top notch colleges such as Stella Maris, Loyola, WCC or Ethiraj, the university grants additional seats to such colleges to enable these poor, meritorious students learn at the best institutions,” Mr. Thiruvasagam says.

The students are also clearly told that if they fail in the exams they would have to pay all the fees from the next semester onwards so that they work hard and pass out in flying colours. Mr. Thiruvasagam, whose tenure ends in the first week of October, appealed to the Syndicate members and authorities present at the function to continue this scheme in the years to come as well.