The Panjab University (PU) Senate approved of a significant hike in tuition fees for all courses — up to 300 per cent for some — at a meeting on Sunday. The revised tuition fees will be applicable for students taking admission in the first year of the 2017-18 academic session. VC Arun Kumar Grover constituted a committee that gave the proposal for enhancing the annual tuition fees for all courses. Amid opposition by some senators who said that apart from increasing fees, PU should also look at other ways to manage its cash crunch.
According to the new fee structure, all courses whose fees was in the range of Rs 2,000-3,000 has been enhanced to Rs 10,000 and above. The tuition fee for BA/BCom (Evening Studies) has been increased from Rs 2,200 to Rs 10,000. For BSc (Hons), fees have been increased from Rs 2,320 to Rs 15,000 and MSc (hons) from Rs 2,440 to Rs 15,000.
In the case of professional courses, the tuition fees for three-year LLB course has been increased from Rs 4,000 to Rs 25,000. For B Pharma students, the fees have been hiked by more than nine times from Rs 5,080 to Rs 50,000. For MBA (Gen, IC, HR and Bio-Tech) the fees would be Rs 1 lakh, up from Rs 9,400 being charged.
For PU’s dental course, the fees have been increased from Rs 8,64,00 to Rs 1.5 lakh. The fees at the regional centres at PU have also been increased.
While introducing the proposal in the Senate, Grover said, “We have been asked to rationalise the fee structure so our fees look comparable to other universities in Punjab. There are courses for which the fee is less than Rs 5000. That will be increased to Rs 10,000. For the courses where the fees is between Rs 30,000 and Rs 40,000, not many changes have been proposed. In a case of engineering courses, we have been asked to increase the fees to make it at par with NITs or PEC. From Rs 70,000 it has been increased to Rs 90,000.”
He added for courses such as applied sciences and applied social sciences where the students initially do not get high-earning jobs, the fees had been increased minimally.
The Senate also decided that for all new entrants, the teachers in respective departments will ascertain their background. In case there is some student, who comes from a weak economic background and cannot pay fees, but is meritorious, the varsity would provide concessions.
Further, it has been decided that students who have studied and qualified for their Class XII examination from a government school and have an annual family income of up to Rs 5 lakh, will be eligible for fee concessions up to 50 per cent of the tuition fees. In case the annual income of the family of such a student is Rs 2.5 lakh, he/she will get 75 per cent fee concession.
Opposing the fee hike, senator Naresh Gaur said that if there has been no increase in the fees for the past decade, it does not mean that the students, who are to take admission in the current academic session, will have to bear the brunt. He said that the varsity should start new courses such as MCom through correspondence that will generate more revenue.
Another senator, professor Shelley Walia, said education is no longer cheap and the fees at PU needs to be rationalised. “Other measures also need to be taken. Why should teachers be paid remuneration for paper setting and checking answer sheets? It is a part of their work. These remunerations should be stopped. Honorariums given for works such as flying duty should be stopped,” he said.
Professor Ronki Ram said the students also want to see PU out of financial crisis. The aim is to decrease deficit. For this, we will need to swallow a bitter pill, he added.
A few senators pointed out how the fees in several schools were high. It was highlighted by the senators that the quality of teaching and research being offered to the students be improved. The senators also said the placement cell of PU should be strengthened.
Gurmeet Singh questioned if the varsity was increasing the fees under pressure. He said the interests of students from the economically weaker sections should be considered.