The University of Mumbai (MU) plans to create an endowment fund with the help of alumni.
The university’s vice chancellor (VC) Sanjay Deshmukh said that the group - to be designated as ‘Friends of University of Mumbai’ - will raise the money on behalf of the university and will get to decide which of projects and programmes it wishes to fund. He said that the plan will take a definite shape within a month.
“’Friends of University of Mumbai’ won’t be an alumni association. People who feel for the university, regardless of if they were a student here, will be part of this group,” said Deshmukh, who hopes to generate Rs1000 crore during his tenure as V-C.
He added that the endowment fund will be different from a ‘corpus fund’, which is the money raised by the institute alumni and is used by the institute as it wishes. The ‘Friends’, on the other hand, will get to spend the endowment fund as per their own priorities. “The university won’t tell them to fund any specific project,” he said.
Presently, the grants from the state government and the fees paid by the students are the largest source of income of the university. Additionally, the university also receives grants from University Grants Commission, Department of Science and Technology and Department of Atomic Energy for various projects.
Indian Institute of Technology Bombay (IITB) and Institute of Chemical Technology (ICT), two other institutes in the city, are known to receive substantial donations from its alumni. While the IITB has a corpus fund, the ICT alumni have funded several buildings and facilities at the institute.
While there have been sporadic instances of private donors helping the university, there is no formal mechanism to generate external funds. A few years ago, the varsity had formed an association of Jamnalal Bajaj Institute of Management Studies alumni to raise funds for its new building, but so far the group has failed to do so.
Santosh Gangurde, an activist and vice president of Maharashtra Navnirman Vidyarthi Sena, is sceptical of the MU initiative. He said that the university has not been able to utilise some of the donations.
“Instead of creating a separate group and relying on its discretion, the university should instead tap the corporate social responsibility (CSR) funds of the companies based in the city,” he added.