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Tezpur University fee hike: SFI, others protest

August 9, 2021
Shreyosi Chakraborty

In a shocking move, Tezpur University (Assam) has announced a fee increase from the 2021-2022 academic year for students enrolled in various courses of the central university. At a time when the world is battling a deadly pandemic, a hike in university fees has invited protests from several student bodies in the state. 

Opposing the varsity’s decision, the Students’ Federation of India (SFI) demanded an immediate roll back of the fees. Nirangkush Nath, SFI Assam State committee general secretary said, “The University Grants Commission has asked all the educational institutions to be sympathetic towards students in regard to payment of fees and if feasible, may consider offering alternative payment options to students till the situation returns to normal. Tezpur University, however, paid no heed to the UGC directive and increased the fees of the students. Amid such a situation, the university’s decision to hike fees is inhuman for the students and parents.”

Says a student of Tezpur University on condition of anonymity, “We were asked to vacate the hostels in March 2020. But by that time, we had already made the full payment for the spring semester. So, even though we paid the fees for six months, our classes were held for three months only. We expected the management to adjust this amount later. However, it was not done. We were also charged with consumable charges like library, transportation, laboratory, students activity, health, electricity, Research and Development, etc. during 2020-2021 when on the contrary we were not present on the campus and were doing online classes. Now, on top of this, the university has increased the Phd and Masters degree fees by Rs 1200-Rs 2000 (approximately).”

The fees in Masters have increased by 1500 each year in 2020-21 and 2021-22 and hence a total amount of Rs. 3000 has been increased, while in PhD Rs 1350 was increased in 2021-2022. Integrated M.Sc fees have been increased by Rs 2,000 while integrated M.Com by Rs 1,200.

Further, the notice for fee payment was issued on the afternoon of Friday, July 30. This allowed only two working days for the students to pay the fees given that the fee payment deadline was August 4.

Nirangkush further added that admission fees for PhD courses in Tezpur University has increased from Rs 5,800 in 2011 to Rs 17,000 (Rs 19,000 in some departments) in 2021, an increase of 190 percent.

More than 200 research scholars of the university have not been able to pay their fees till date. The financial crisis confronting the students has exacerbated with various fellowships such as the NET-JRF (National Eligibility Test-Junior Research Fellowship), ICSSR (Indian Council of Social Science Research), etc not being disbursed timely due to the pandemic. Further, even the institutional fellowships are not being disbursed timely. The Tezpur University Students’ Council tried taking up the matter with the administration but the administration was adamant. 

Meanwhile, Satra Mukti Sangram Samiti (SMSS) — a students’ union of Assam — also protested against the fee hike.

Also Read:West Bengal: Protest breaks, call for WBCHSE president Mohua Das’ removal

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