HYDERABAD: Two years ago, when Saiyyada Butool Munawari got the news of her acceptance at Underwood University in the US for the MS (Nutrition) programme, her family in the city was excited.
Though expensive, the family believed that her plan to study in the US was within their grasp. This was thanks to the Chief Minister’s Overseas Scholarship Scheme. In the hope that the Rs 20 lakh that Munawari would get through the scheme would see her through her studies, at least for the most part, the family sent her to the US in mid-2019 to begin her studies at Underwood.
“The scheme promises that Rs 10 lakh of the Rs 20 lakh will be given upon producing the official admission and related documents. But that did not come. We, however, managed to pool enough money for her to go and begin her studies, hoping that the grant will be released,” her brother Syed Umair Mehdi told Deccan Chronicle.
However, their hopes were dashed. The second installment of another Rs 10 lakh, that was to be given once a student submits proof of clearing the first semester courses, also did not come. “We have to bear not only the fees, but also the food and accommodation expenses. We sent her abroad in the hope that the government will release the amount. Our request is that this be done immediately, so we can repay the loans we took from others,” he said.
“Though the university gave some relaxation in payment of fees in the wake of the pandemic, the new academic semester is on and we have to pay her semester fee again,” he said.
It is not just Munawari and her family waiting for release of funds under the CMO student help scheme. In all, around 800 students have been waiting, many since the 2019 academic year, for grants under the scholarship scheme.
Though the minorities welfare department sought applications during October-November 2020 from such community students for aid under the scheme, it is yet to finalise the eligible students’ list. This has left in the lurch those who got admissions to various postgraduate and doctoral courses in foreign universities for the Fall and Spring semesters between January-December 2020.
The department invites applications under the scheme once a year for both Spring and Fall semester admissions abroad.
The state government started the scheme in 2015 under which selected candidates get Rs 20 lakh in grant towards fees and living expenses subject to the candidate joining the classes. While Rs 10 lakh is to be paid to the students upon production of the landing permit/I-94 card (immigration card), the second installment shall be payable on submission of the first semester results. Under this scheme, the government provides scholarships to 250 students for each spring and fall season in a year.
Yet another student, Kausarunnisa, too has a similar case. According to Masood Mansoor of Shah Ali Banda, his niece is pursuing masters in engineering from La Trobe University, Sydney. She is expected to complete her course soon. “With her father dead, her mother is paying the fee from the savings she did for her marriage,” he said.
Department director Shahnawaz Qasim said the government has sanctioned Rs 72.54 crore to disburse the amount among the students selected in 2019. He clarified that, due to the pandemic, parents of the students took time to provide credentials. Now, the processing is almost over and funds should be released in a fortnight, he said.