Division to hit fee reimbursement

The fee reimbursement scheme, on which depends the fate of over 27 lakh students across the state pursuing professional and higher education courses, is hanging in uncertainty thanks to the proposed bifurcation of state. The government has stopped payment of tuition fees this year without citing any reasons.

It is midway through the current academic year, but the government is still in the process of accepting applications from freshers and renewal students, which has raised serious concerns among students from socially and economically weaker sections.

Although the government has not cited any reasons for halting payment of fees this year, students and college managements believe that the proposed bifurcation of state is the reason for it and fear that the government will not pay the fees until clarity is reached with regard to bifurcation and the financial burden on each state post-bifurcation, as a large number of students from Seemandhra region are studying in colleges in Telangana region.

"We have not received a single rupee so far, despite completing one semester this year. The government owes us Rs 4,500 crore, in addition to the arrears of Rs 150 crore from last year. We have been chasing officials for months but with no response.

We will wait until month-end and start collecting fees from students. We have no other option. We have to pay salaries to the staff and meet operational costs," said Ramesh Nimmatoori, chairman, Consortium of AP Engineering and Professional Colleges Association.

The enrolment in professional colleges has increased by leaps and bounds in the last five years on account of the scheme with professional courses becoming accessible to all, irrespective of their financial status.

Fee reimbursement scheme is one of the major financial burdens on the state exchequer. The burden increased from Rs 1,000 crore per annum in 2009 to Rs 4,500 crore currently. The burden of fees will weigh more on Telangana than Seemandhra post-bifurcation.
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