THE STATE government will conduct random financial audits of private colleges offering professional courses including medical, engineering, pharmacy, management, law, architecture and hotel management among others. Experts will randomly select 10 per cent of the private colleges for the audit.
The audit will inspect if these colleges are charging more than the fee amount as fixed by the Fee Regulatory Authority (FRA).
Along with audits of colleges offering professional courses covered under the FRA ambit, the higher and technical education department will conduct a review of autonomous colleges offering professional courses under the traditional streams of arts, commerce and science.
“The FRA in Maharashtra, which is an autonomous body, is responsible for approving fee structures of professional courses. But it is important to inspect if the same has been followed by colleges. A random audit by a committee having a chartered accountant and other experts will help us to understand this. It is decided to randomly select 10 per cent of the total colleges for the audit,” Maharashtra Higher and Technical Education minister Chandrakant Patil said.
After it was pointed out that several autonomous colleges are offering professional courses under the traditional arts, commerce and science streams that are not covered under the FRA, Patil said, “We will take a review of such colleges. Even as they are awarded autonomy; it is related to academics. The government is bearing the salary expenditure of their staff. It is important to inspect if academic autonomy is used to gain monetary benefits by charging exorbitant fees.”
Recently, Patil said that voter ID cards will be among the mandatory documents for candidates above 18 years of age seeking admission to universities in Maharashtra. “We are encouraging voting among the college-going youth, which is otherwise very low…,” said Patil, adding that no students will be denied admission for not having a voter ID card.
Fee reimbursement for reserved category students at deemed universities
The state government is planning to reimburse the fees of students from socially and economically backward classes, who are studying in deemed universities. “The state government is contemplating different ways to reimburse fees of students coming from reserved categories and studying in deemed universities, following a court order in such a case. As fees are considerably high in deemed universities, the state government is looking at reimbursing only a part of it that may be equivalent to the government institute fees, whereas the remaining can be paid by the candidates,” said an official from the higher and technical education department, adding that the proposal at nascent stage and is subject to revision for approvals.