Every year, lakhs of students apply to a few thousand aided or government-funded seats in junior colleges. So if you are wondering what happens to those who err during the application process or don’t score high enough to bag these coveted seats, the answer is here: these first year junior college (FYJC) students pay 12-13 times more for the same course in the same college.
A case in point could be the electronics course at Ruia College in Matunga. If you get into the aided section, you will have to pay an annual fee of Rs 1,200, but if you get an unaided seat, the fee for the same course will be Rs 25,000.
This holds true for most colleges in the city, as they charge in the range of Rs 15,000-Rs 40,000 for unaided seats. While the SM Shetty High School and Junior College, Powai, charges Rs 40,200 for computer science, the fee for a bifocal seat at KC College and Jai Hind College is Rs 13,500. On the contrary, the fee for bifocal seats in aided divisions of Sathaye College, Vile Parle, and DG Ruparel College, Matunga, is Rs 775 and Rs 580 respectively.
“Our fee is high because we pay our teachers as per the sixth pay commission. We provide students one computer and a hardware kit each in the laboratory,” said Pratibha Gadagalli, vice-principal, SM Shetty Junior College.
The fee for science (general), commerce and arts stream, too, has gone up. A student pursuing commerce on an unaided seat at KC College has to pay Rs 10,745 for a year, while those in the aided section pay only Rs 745.
According to authorities, since 2005, the government has stopped giving approval to increase the number of aided seats. Consequently, while the number of unaided seats has gone up, the number of aided seats is the same. “For each course, the college has to pay a salary to its teachers, which is more than Rs 49,000. We also have pay the non-teaching staff, maintenance charges and other expenses. The government needs to allow us to open aided divisions to stop the fee hike,” said Manju Nichani, principal, KC College.
In some colleges, the aided courses, too, are expensive. For instance, TP Bhatia College, Kandivli, charges Rs 15,850 for aided bifocal courses. “We incur an expenditure of Rs 15,000 on each student in the aided section, but we get only Rs 240-Rs 400 as fee from the government. Running the aided divisions is becoming tougher by the day, as neither is the government keen on hiking the fee, nor is it paying us the non-salary grant,” said Suhas Pednekar, principal, Ruia College.
Education officials said many colleges are flouting the rules on fee structure. “Currently, there is no cap on fees for junior colleges. We will ask the colleges to implement the new Act from the coming academic year,” said BD Phadtare, deputy director of education, Mumbai region.
On the other hand, degree colleges are following the norms for unaided sections that are prescribed by the University of Mumbai.
The fee for bachelor in commerce and arts is between Rs 4,000 and Rs 5,000, while it is more than Rs 6,000 for science courses. The fee for professional courses ranges from Rs 10,000 to 25,000, depending on the college and course.
(Inputs from Vinayak Gupta)