AP puts cap of Rs 35k on `feebie', students angry

The state government on Tuesday decided to cap the fee reimbursement at `35,000 for students pursuing engineering courses this year. Anything over this amount will have to be borne by the students.

Thus, meritorious students from poor families will find it difficult to opt for the best colleges, which offer quality education and good placements, as the fees in these 67 col leges have been fixed between `51,800 and `1,05,000 for this year.

However, there will be no problem for students who take admissions in the 578 colleges, where the fee has been fixed at `35,000 as they will be reimbursed in full. Poor students, even if they are eligible to study in better colleges, may have to opt for one of these 578 colleges if they cannot afford the higher fee. The cap will be applicable to students taking admissions through the ongoing Eamcet counselling. Out of reach for poor students Meritorious students from poor families will find it difficult to opt for the best but costlier col leges, which offer quali ty education and good placements. The decision to cap the fee reimbursement at `35,000 for students pursuing engineering courses this year was taken at a meeting of the Cabinet subcommittee on fee reimbursement headed by minister for social welfare Pithani Satyanarayana at the Secretariat on Tuesday to discuss the issue.

Speaking to the media later, Mr Satyanarayana justified the government’s decision and said that as the fee in most colleges had been fixed at `35,000, it would not impact most students.

“The fees are more than `35,000 only in 67 colleges.

Students who opt for seats in these colleges will have to bear the excess fees.

The government will assist such students by providing interest-free loans from banks. We will
take all steps to ensure that the interests of merit students are protected.

We have referred the issue to the Chief Minister who will take a decision on this issue,” the minister said.

The government’s decision evoked sharp criticism from student organisations and BC, EBC, minority, SC and ST associations, who threatened to launch state-wide agitations from Wednesday demanding full fee reimbursement for all eligible students, irrespective of differential fees in engineering colleges.

They alleged that the government’s decision to cap the fee reimbursement would deprive students from socially and economically weaker sections of pursuing engineering in the best colleges and would force them to confine themselves in below-par colleges.

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