Ambedkar University students want fee hike review
After Jawaharlal Nehru university (JNU), students of Ambedkar University of Delhi too have launched a campaign against the varsity’s fee structure and fee waiver system for marginalised students.
For over a month, JNU students have been protesting against a proposed steep hike in hostel fee and have been demanding affordable education.
“The administration follows a model of ‘10% fee hike’ for every new batch. Though there are fee waivers in place for students from SC/ST/OBC category or for those from economically weaker backgrounds, assuming others are well-off is problematic,” said Amit Sheokhand, a first-year M.Phil student at the varsity and a member of the Students’ Federation of India (SFI). The group started an online survey on Friday to record student testimonies and understand their issues.
“In the wake of Jawaharlal Nehru University incident, it became necessary for us to reflect on what kind of system our university has,” said Sonal Sharma, another SFI student activist.
In response to queries sent by HT, the university’s Public Relations Office said there has never been an increase of 10% at any point of time. “The increase in fee is calculated on the basis of average of Consumer Price Index for the last 10 years and this may increase or decrease accordingly,” they said.
Currently, AUD offers fee waiver of between 25%-100% for students whose annual family income is below ₹6 lakh. Students, however, say that those above ₹6 lakh slab also face financial issues.
“My father earns a little above ₹6 lakh per annum. We are three siblings and all of us are studying. The money I receive from home is not enough to sustain me,” said a postgraduate student of Urban Studies at the varsity.
“We have implemented the Economically Weaker Section reservation for students as per the directions of the government. The fee waiver policy for students from low-income families is a rare practice followed by the university,” the varsity said.
Citing cases like these, students are planning to ask the administration to extend the fee waiver benefits to families earning up to ₹8 lakh per annum.