`Varsities sustaining themselves at the cost of colleges, students'

Coimbatore Oct. 28. Colleges affiliated to the Bharathiyar University are irked at collection of fees under various heads. "The colleges and students are tired of paying the fees for the upkeep and maintenance of the university", says a principal.

This situation is a fallout of the State Government "refusing to fund the universities and allowing them to raise their own resources", say sources in self-financing colleges. In addition, it has passed on the burden of managing government colleges, for which the university will have to foot all bills except on staff salary.

The sources contend that universities in Tamil Nadu collect an affiliation fee of Rs. 1 lakh for undergraduate courses and Rs. 2 lakhs for postgraduate courses, whereas in the north it is only Rs. 5,000. When a college applies for a course, an application fee of Rs. 10,000 and an inspection fee of Rs. 5,000 are charged. And when the course period is over, another Rs. 50,000 will have to be paid for permanent affiliation. For a diploma course the affiliation fee is Rs. 50,000 and for a certificate course, Rs. 25,000.

An eligibility certificate now costs Rs. 500 and every student should pay the university Rs. 450 for administrative expenses. For games and library, the colleges have to pay though the university does nothing except organising competitions, for which also it collects participation fees. When a student wants to get a transfer to another college under the same university, he will have to cough up Rs. 1,000. Apart from levying a hefty examination fee, the university collects a Rs. 500-fine from late applicants. "For the degree certificate, for an application for it, for the provisional certificate, for the marksheet and for a consolidated marksheet — for every small service the university collects hefty sums", the sources allege.

According to a recent circular, if the affiliated colleges apply to the University Grants Commission for grants, they will have to pay in advance Rs. 500 for every Rs. 1 lakh they seek. The money will not be refunded if the grant is not sanctioned.

However, the university, which collects considerable amounts, pays very little to the teachers who conduct examinations, say the sources. A chief superintendent, who conducts the examination and does all related work, gets just Rs. 100 a day. Members of an inspection commission, which recommends affiliation for a new course, get only Rs. 100.

However, highly placed Bharathiyar University sources contend that several northern universities continued to get government grants, "whereas we are expected to be self-sustaining".

Besides, the university collected only Rs. 1,000 for recognition (once a lifetime), Rs.100 for forwarding proposals for UGC grants and Rs. 500 for every Rs. 1 lakh for giving an "essentiality certificate" for clearing shipments of research equipment. "This benefits the managements. We collect much less for even research studies than what other universities get".

They also dismiss the allegation that the university is spending for the government colleges (constituents). "So far we have not spent a paisa (on them). We have opened some self-financing courses in those institutions and are managing with the fees collected".

To the charge of poor remuneration for examinations, they said " it is fixed by the Tamil Nadu State Council for Higher Education".

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