Bengaluru: With the increasing number of students complaining about private engineering colleges withholding original documents and refusing to refund fees even after surrendering seats, the Admission Overseeing Committee has recommended to the state government to take strict action against defaulting institutions.
The Karnataka Examinations Authority (KEA) received 20 complaints against various higher education institutions (HEIs) when the admissions were held through the Common Entrance Test (CET) and Consortium of Medical, Engineering and Dental Colleges in Karnataka (COMED-K) entrance test for 2017-18.
The committee said that such practices by institutions are “unfair” and “blatant exploitation” of students. The list of truant institutions and details of the fee collected is displayed on the KEA official website.
The committee, headed by former Karnataka High Court Judge Anand Byrareddy, has also brought to light many illegal practices private professional colleges indulge in, though the University Grants Commission (UGC) has strict guidelines against them. “No HEIs shall make it mandatory for applicants to purchase the institutional prospectus” and “they shall disclose prospectus information on their website,” ascertains the panel. On the collection of fees, HEIs are entitled to charge from students the fee in advance only for a semester/year and not the entire course, as is being done now.
The practice of withholding original certificates, like mark-sheets and school leaving certificates at the time of admission, was also criticised by the panel. “HEIs shall physically verify the originals at the time of admission of the student in his/her presence and return them immediately, keeping attested copies for their record,” reads the report, drawing reference to the UGC notification – “Remittance and Refund of Fees and other Student Centric Issues”, dated December 6, 2016.
KEA Administrative Officer S.N. Gangadharaiah told Deccan Chronicle that the state government will issue necessary orders based on the expert committee’s report. “As the government and the universities are now more aware of the problems, the government by approving the report will ensure student-friendly decisions. We will ensure that no discrepancies occur after the order is passed,” he said.
“According to the report, the decision should be publicised to make students aware of the laws. Most of my friends have discontinued the course because of their financial problems, but the colleges have been inconsiderate and demanded the entire course fee from them to release original documents,” says Shravan Kumar, co-convener of VTU Students’ Struggle Committee.
The Admission Overseeing Committee has also recommended to the government to direct VTU to refund the fees withheld with an interest of 18% per annum from the date of receipt of amount by college till refund.