Consider income loss of families before applying for fee hike: FRA, Maharashtra

The state FRA has requested colleges to factor in the last year's economic repercussions on students’ families before applying for annual fee hikes.
The FRA is in the process of approving fee structures for the upcoming academic year of 2021-22 (for representational purpose only). ISTOCKPHOTO
The FRA is in the process of approving fee structures for the upcoming academic year of 2021-22 (for representational purpose only). ISTOCKPHOTO
Published on Mar 18, 2021 04:38 PM IST
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By, Hindustan Times, Mumbai

In a recent meeting, the state Fee Regulating Authority (FRA) has requested colleges to consider the economic repercussions of the past year upon students’ families before applying for hikes in annual fees. The authority is currently in the process of approving fee structures for the upcoming academic year of 2021-22.

“College managements should appreciate that due to the Covid-19 pandemic, incomes of several households have suffered and their capacity to incur expenditure has been affected. Therefore, the same should be contended with the approved fee structure,” states the minutes of a meeting held on March 12.

Established in 2004, FRA is the quasi-judicial body responsible for regulating fees of unaided private professional colleges in the state. Every year, institutes submit proposals to change their fee structures to FRA. Based on indicators such as the nature of the course, number of students, teaching and non-teaching staff, infrastructure and other facilities at the college, changes in fees are approved. Colleges must display the approved fee structure on their website for students to check at the time of admission. Institutes are usually allowed a 10% fee hike.

They also have the option of continuing two years or more with the same fee structure based on FRA’s approval.

This year, FRA is hoping for fewer applications. “We have made a request to institutes. Now it is their decision to whether or not apply for the fee hike,” said a senior official from FRA who said the authority will take into consideration the decrease in expenditure for institutes as their campuses were not in use all of last year.

“The fact that they incurred less expenditure last year will reflect in their balance sheets that they have to submit along with their proposal. This too will help reduce the fees that will be approved for the upcoming academic year,” added the official.

Colleges have pointed out that since online classes were conducted regularly, the staff was paid in full.

The director of a private medical college in Pune told HT, “No staff was sacked and neither was their salary deducted because not only was our staff conducting classes, but were also running the hospital for several hours at a stretch, fighting Covid-19. We also need to take into consideration the considerable expenditure institutes will incur in sanitisation of classes and hostel. So the only way to meet expenditure is by charging fees.”

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Shreya Bhandary is a Special Correspondent covering higher education for Hindustan Times, Mumbai. Her work revolves around finding loopholes in the current education system and highlighting the good and the bad in higher education institutes in and around Mumbai.

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