NSUI seeks refund of ‘extra’ fee charged by Mumbai university colleges last year
National Students Union of India (NSUI) on Sunday requested the vice chancellor of University of Mumbai to direct all affiliated colleges to either refund or adjust resources fee collected for the 2020-21 academic year citing financial constraints faced by students due to Covid-19 pandemic. This category includes charges for library, laboratory, gymkhana, sports and cultural activities, among others.
“The pandemic has left an undesirable impact on every earning sector, thus creating a financial crisis in many families. Higher education institutes need to offer fee concession to students in such times,” stated the letter. NSUI also shared copies of fee receipts to highlight that students were charged for unused resources/facilities by several colleges in and around Mumbai despite classes and examinations being held online.
Earlier in March, another student group had approached the vice chancellor’s office with a similar demand, but it got no official response from the varsity.
“In several cases, despite warnings from higher authorities, several higher education institutes have demanded full fees from students, increasing the financial burden on their families,” said Faisal Shaikh, a member of NSUI in Mumbai. He added that the union will also try to meet the vice chancellor in furtherance of the demand.
Not just students, many affiliated colleges, too, had approached the Mumbai university for refunds. Last year in November, the Association of Non-Government Colleges (ANGC) sought a refund of 60% examination fees paid by them to the varsity, citing “increased expenses” due to teaching and examinations having shifted online.
“Students think just because they didn’t use the college campus the fee should be reduced, but they fail to understand how colleges are incurring larger expenses by investing in digital platforms and ensuring all exams are conducted online. We are only charging the fees needed for proper functioning of the institute,” said the principal of a south Mumbai college.