Rasheed Kappan

A BBM seat can cost a student Rs. 1.2 lakh a year

BANGALORE: Faced with acute shortage of students for basic sciences, unaided degree colleges affiliated to Bangalore University have resorted to an old strategy: make money through courses in demand. The absence of fee regulatory body like the one for professional courses has made some private unaided colleges in Bangalore charge an exorbitant fee of Rs. 1.2 lakh a year for BBM course.

The private college managements justify huge fee, calling the course a "package" incorporating even Common Admission Test (CAT) training. But the students are offered no choice. They cannot select only BBM, which has a fee structure of Rs. 55,000. The same college offers a B.Com degree with Capital Markets, Company Secretaryship and Insurance as optionals for an annual fee of Rs. 37,600 plus Rs. 15,000.

Non-Karnataka students have to pay an additional Rs. 12,000 every year. But there is no uniformity of fees in various colleges. Neither is there an official mechanism to verify the colleges' infrastructure, faculty strength and other academic matters, factors cited by managements to justify their high fees.

So, you have one college charging a development fee of Rs. 50,000 and another Rs. 1.5 lakh over the next three years as tuition fee for B.Sc. Biotechnology (although the subject is only one of the three optional ones).

Another city college offers the same course for a development fee of Rs. 60,000. But this college has a lower fee of Rs. 35,000 for the first year and Rs. 25,000 for the second and third years. Besides, every student is given a free laptop.

Colleges with both aided and unaided courses have separate fee structures.

Aided courses have low fees because the teachers' salaries are taken care of by the Department of Collegiate Education. Colleges have to fend for themselves to sustain unaided courses.