Mumbai colleges, alumni help students pay their fees
The Covid-19 pandemic and eventual lockdown has affected the financial situation of people across sectors. Keeping this in mind, several higher education institutes have introduced various methods to ensure no student ends up losing out on education, due to their inability to pay fees.
While fee payment in instalments and part-waiver of fees were introduced in some institutes, in some cases, the college has reached out to their alumni to raise funds for students. “We realised that there were around 27 students facing similar issues and we didn’t want anyone to lose out on education due to lack of funds. Every year, Grenville Solomon, our ex-student gives scholarship of ₹1 lakh each to three meritorious students. But this year, around 27 students were in need of financial assistance and the alumnus helped without any hesitation,” said Marie Fernandes, principal of St Andrew’s College, Bandra.
Solomon helped the college with ₹4.5 lakh to cover the fees of 27 students who were in no position to pay their fees this year. “Such kindness and generosity in such pandemic stricken times is all we need to boost the spirits of students,” added Fernandes.
In July 2020, the management of the Indian Institute of Technology-Bombay (IIT-B) had decided to start their regular lectures virtually and almost immediately, the IIT-B Heritage Foundation (IITBHF) run by the alumni of the institute pledged to address the issue of necessary infrastructure needed to implement online classes. The group announced a grant of ₹2.35 crore which was used to buy around 1,000 laptops and to provide necessary internet and broadband services for current students who were attending lectures from across the country.
At Jai Hind College, a handful of students approached the institute seeking extension in deadline for fee payment and the college promptly gave students the freedom to pay the fees, at their convenience any time in the year. “We also made it clear that in case a student can’t pay the full fees, they will not be forced to do so. We luckily have a corpus fund put together by our alumni and end up utilising that fund as and when needed for the benefit of our students only,” said Ashok Wadia, principal of the institute.
In October last year, less than a month after colleges reopened with virtual classes etc, the University of Mumbai released a circular addressed to all affiliated colleges asking them to make instalment facility available for all students whose families are facing the economic strain of the Covid-19 imposed lockdown. During admissions for first year courses for the 2020-21 academic year as well, several colleges had dropped the basic admission fee in order to accommodate all students. The college staff and management have also stepped up to cover expenses of students.