The state higher education department on Tuesday said that it would not implement any fee hike in government colleges for the upcoming 2020-21 academic session, keeping in mind the financial distress caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Usually, universities across the state increase their fees by 10-15% every year, said officials. However, according to officials, increasing the fees this year could have adverse implications for the gross enrollment ratio of the state with many students being discouraged from taking admission.
In a letter shared with all government colleges on Tuesday, the department said that this year too, the fee structure for the 2018-19 session will continue to prevail. This is the second year in a row that the higher education department has not hiked fees for colleges in the state. Earlier, in November 2019, the department was forced to roll back fee hike for the 2019-2020 session after protests by students.
The department said that this year, the COVID-19 pandemic had caused major disruptions in the lives of people across the globe. It has created new challenges and put extreme economic pressure on people. This necessitated that fee structure is kept unchanged, keeping in mind the shifting ground realities.
SP Sukhija, joint director-2, department of higher education, said that the department had taken the decision of not increasing college fees this year keeping in mind the interests of the students. “We have been receiving many representations and requests from people expressing their inability to pay an increased fee since their source of income has dried up. Routinely, universities increase their fees by 10-15% every year. If we were to go by the usual precedent, fee this year would have shot up. We, however, took a compassionate view so that students don’t have to suffer and pay an increased fee,” said Sukhija.
He added that hiking the fee could have discouraged students from weaker economic sections of the society from taking admission. “If the fee is hiked and the students are not in a position to take admission, then this would adversely affect the enrollment ratio in the state. We don’t want our students to be deprived of education due to higher fees,” said Sukhija.
The decision to keep the fee structure unchanged this year had earlier been discussed in a meeting with all principals that took place last Sunday. Pooja Khullar, principal of the Dronacharya Government College, said that the decision had been taken keeping in mind the various constraints that people are facing due to the pandemic. “There will be no enhancement of fees this year. The department has decided to continue with the old fee structure so that students are not dissuaded from taking admission,” said Khullar.
Satyamanyu Yadav, principal of Government College in Sector 9, said that the department had increased the fee last year but it had been rolled back after protests by students. This year, however, the department had decided against increasing the fee in view of the hardships faced by people because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The department of higher education is expected to initiate the online admission process for undergraduate and postgraduate courses in the coming days. Nodal admission officers have already been appointed in various colleges across the state to facilitate the process.