Following the Tamil Nadu government's decision to exempt tuition fees for first generation students, more than 78,000 such students have applied this year, Higher Education Minister K. Ponmudy here said on Tuesday.
Speaking to reporters after assignment of random numbers to applicants for engineering admissions, Mr. Ponmudy said this represented around 47 per cent of the total applications of 1,67,406 this year. Higher education officials said the estimated number of first generation engineering applicants last year was around 50,000. K. Ganesan, Principal Secretary for Higher Education, said the government's exemption of tuition fees had encouraged more applicants this year resulting in the increase of over 25,000 this year.
Mr. Ponmudy said that in view of the huge number of applicants this year (nearly double the number of applicants three years ago), counselling dates might be extended to August 5, and colleges would reopen before August 15 instead of on August 1 as announced earlier.
The rank list would be released on June 18, certificate verification for sports quota applicants would take place on June 21 and June 22, sports quota counselling would be held on June 28. After vocational seats' counselling between June 29 and July 3 and counselling for special category students on July 4, general counselling would start on July 5. Counselling for other States' students would be held on July 17 and counselling for B.Arch. seats on July 21.
On complaints of many seats being ‘sold' by agents, Mr. Ponmudy said parents and students should avoid such means. “There are enough seats in the State. If you remove placement numbers from the pictures, many colleges have the same standard.”
Asked if a committee would be set up to monitor collection of capitation fees, the Minister said the State Council for Technical Education would be set up and that it would take note of such issues this year. Anna University-Chennai Vice-Chancellor P. Mannar Jawahar, Mr. Ponmudy, Mr. Ganesan, Commissioner of Technical Education Kumar Jayant and a member from the media participated in the generation of the random number seed used to assign random numbers to all applicants.
In case of a tie in the cut-off marks between two students, their mathematics score would be used to decide the higher rank. If those were equal, the physics mark would be used, and if that was the same, the birth date would be used.