UGC plans penalty to check capitation fee
The country’s higher education regulator, the University Grants Commission (UGC), is set to introduce regulations to curb the practice of charging capitation fee or any other form of profiteering by private deemed universities in professional education, a government official said on condition of anonymity.
Following this private deemed medical and dental colleges will face action including penalties for charging capitation fees from students seeking admissions, the official said.
“The UGC is planning to create a regulatory mechanism for deemed varsities providing professional education. This will ensure that students do not secure admission through money power alone,” the official said.
Capitation fee refers to the amount charged in cash or kind in excess of the prescribed or approved fees to grant admission to someone who may not otherwise be deserving a seat .
The UGC had appointed a committee to draft the fee regulation norms for self-financed deemed universities for medical or dental courses following a direction by the Madras high court, an official of the commission said on condition of anonymity. The court had directed the UGC to constitute a committee to regulate the fee chargeable by self-financed deemed varsities for medical or dental courses after consulting stakeholders.
“The commission had formed a committee which finalised the draft for the regulations for dental and medical education imparted by private aided and unaided institutions which are deemed varsities. While there is a system of fee regulation for other colleges, there was none for private medical and dental colleges in the deemed category. The guidelines were recently put before the commission which has accepted them,” another senior official said.
“The suggestions of the committee, however, may soon be brought into public domain for stakeholder consultation. Once, they are finalised, the UGC (Fees in professional education imparted by private aided and unaided institutions deemed to be universities) Regulations, 2019, will be notified,” the official said.
According to the official, as per the proposed norms, fee committees will be constituted which will be headed by eminent educationists. These fee committees would assess if the fee levied by such private colleges is justified while taking into account social aspects such as share in population of scheduled castes, scheduled tribes, economically weaker sections and backward classes in the area where the college exists and their educational needs.
The committees would also consider the average per-seat cost of imparting education on the basis of guidelines and instructions issued by UGC and the size of the aid received by these colleges.
“The institutions will have to maintain proper accounts and these fee committees will have the power to seek details about these accounts from the colleges,” the second official said. In case of violations, the fee committees may take stringent action against the profiteering body.
The fee committees shall be competent to impose fines of up to Rs 10 lakh per violation in addition to the refund of excess fee charged from the students, says a draft of proposed norms which was seen by HT.
“However, a stakeholder consultation will be held before finalizing the norms,” the second official said. He said that initially the plan was to bring in anti-profiteering norms for private medical or dental colleges which are deemed varsities but the UGC has decided to include other professional education institutions in the ambit.