THE TATA Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), Mumbai, has withdrawn its financial aid to students from outside Maharashtra belonging to the Scheduled Caste category and with family income below the Union government norms from the next academic year. This is the second time the institute facing a fund deficit has announced such a move.
In the admission prospectus for 2017-18 on the official website, the institute has said that the students from outside Maharashtra from the SC category whose family’s annual income is less than Rs 2.5 lakh will have to pay the basic fees (including hostel and dining hall charges). Earlier, the hostel and dining hall fees were borne by the institute while the Central government bears the tuition fee.
“They [students] can approach for scholarship from their respective states if they fulfil the criteria for the award of the Govt. of India Post Matric Scholarship (PMS). If any GOI-PMS amount is received by the institute, it will be reimbursed to the respective students,” read the prospectus. This would mean that the students will have to pay their full fees even as they wait for their scholarship amounts to come.
TISS director S Parasuraman said that an acute fund crunch has left the institute with no resources to bear the expenses of the reserved category students. “We are persuading only those students who have the means to pay the fees. The rest of the students with genuine cases will be taken care of. I don’t know from where the money will come, but we will take care,” said Parasuraman.
According to the director, arrears worth Rs 20 crore are pending from the Central government. The TISS administration has cited a financial deficit of Rs 20 crore as the reason behind the decision. “Under the GoI scholarship scheme, the government only pays the tuition fee and the rest is borne by the institute. However, for some years now, the grants owed to the institute have not been released,” said Parasuraman.
In May this year, the institute announced that it would not be able to provide financial aid to students from SC/ST/OBC category (with family income below GoI norms) in the future. However, following protests from students, the institute decided not to implement the rule. This time, too, students have said that the institute was targeting students belonging to reserved categories out of higher educational institutes. “This is a systematic attempt to keep students from marginalised communities out of campuses,” said a student, requesting anonymity.