After experimenting with full fee waivers for SC/ST students in 2018, the Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) is set to go back to its earlier scheme of providing reimbursement to reserved category students for specific courses, as the university ran out of its allocated funds last year.
IGNOU overshot its budget to such an extent that it has now asked the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) for funds amounting to Rs 32.8 crore, officials said.
In a statement on Sunday, the varsity said, “IGNOU has decided to develop an online portal for facilitating the process of reimbursement of fee to SC/ST students under the SCSP/TSP (Scheduled Caste Sub-Plan and Tribal Sub-Plan) scheme. Students will be able to submit claims for reimbursement on the portal. However, till the time the portal is developed, this will be managed offline.”
“The reimbursement of fees shall be made directly through transfer in the bank accounts of students, as stipulated in Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) scheme of the Government of India. It is, therefore, essential that the student has a bank account in her/his name…The claims for reimbursement will be accepted latest by February 20, 2019. No reimbursement application will be accepted after this date,” it added.
The programmes in the January 2019 cycle, to which the scheme has been extended, includes fresh admissions to the Bachelor Degree Programme (BDP i.e. B.A., B.Com and B.Sc.), Bachelor Preparatory Programme (BPP); and re-registration in BDP (B.A., B.Com, B.Sc.); Bachelor of Social Work; and Bachelor Tourism Studies for students registered from the July 2015 cycle.
Vikas Kumar, Assistant Registrar of the Student Registration Division, said, “Last year, our expenditure exceeded our budget. So we have asked the MHRD for Rs 32.89 crore.”
“As per data available to us, it also seems — though we are unsure — that in many study centres last year, fake admissions also took place, as enrollment of SC/ST students went up drastically. This was also a reason for our funds being spent,” he added.