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Collecting advance fees for more than one semester/year and retention of original certificates of students are illegal: UGC

By   /  December 9, 2016  /  Comments Off on Collecting advance fees for more than one semester/year and retention of original certificates of students are illegal: UGC

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New Delhi:  The University Grants Commission (UGC) has directed universities, colleges and higher educational institutes (HEI) that they shall charge fees in advance only for the semester/year in which a student is to engage in academic activities. Collecting advance fees for entire program of study or for more than one semester/year in which a student is enrolled is strictly prohibited as it restricts the student from exercising other options of enrolment elsewhere.

Also the UGC has notified that no institution of higher education shall insist upon a student to submit the original academic and personal certificates and testimonials like mark-sheets, school leaving certificates and other such documents at the time of submitting admission form. HEIs will physically verify the originals at the time of admission of the student in his/her presence and return them immediately after satisfying themselves about their authenticity and veracity, keeping the attested copies for their record.

No HEI shall make it mandatory for applicants to purchase the institutional prospectus any time during the course of the program of study. The UGC through the circular said that purchasing prospectus shall be the personal choice of the student and he/she has all rights to decide against it in case he/she wishes to access the information from institutional website.

Now, all institutes shall disclose on their website and prospectus information like the status of the institution, its affiliation, accreditation rating, physical assets and amenities, course-wise sanctioned intake of students, details of faculty, membership of governing bodies and minutes of the meetings of bodies like Academic/Executive council, sources of income and the financial situation and any other information about its functioning necessary for a student to make a fully informed choice.

In the notification titled Remittance and Refund of Fees and Other Student-centric Issues Dt 6 December 2016,  the UGC has announced a host of measures that will be strictly implemented by all universities, colleges and institutes. These student-centric measures are broadly categorized as: Verification and Non-retention of Students’ Academic and Personal testimonials; Remittance and Refund of Fees; Constitution and Functions of Grievance Redressal Committee.

Here find 10 Student-centric initiatives and measures highlighted in the UGC notification:

1.No Institute can make it mandatory for applicants to purchase the institutional prospectus any time during the course of the program of study

2.All HEIs shall disclose on their website and prospectus information like the status of the institution, its affiliation, accreditation rating, physical assets and amenities, course-wise sanctioned intake of students, details of faculty, sources of income and the financial situation and any other information about its functioning necessary for a student to make a fully informed choice.

3.Institutes cannot force student to submit the original academic and personal certificates and testimonials like mark-sheets, school leaving certificates and other such documents at the time of submitting admission form.

4.Institutes will physically verify the originals at the time of admission of the student in his/her presence. Also they are mandated to return these documents immediately after verifying their authenticity and veracity, keeping the attested copies for their record.

5.No institute can collect advance fees for entire program of study or for more than one semester/year from the students. This enabling provision is in line with the UGC guidelines on Choice-Based Credit System (CBCS) and Model Curricula which are geared towards promoting a student’s inter-institutional mobility.

6.In case a student chooses to withdraw from the program of study in which he/she is enrolled, the institution concerned will follow the following four-tier system for the refund of fees remitted by the student:

(a) 100% refund of fees – 15 days before the formally-notified last date of admission

(b) 80% refund of fees – Not more than 15 days after the formally-notified last date of admission

(c) 50% refund of fees – More than 15 days but less than 30 days after formally-notified last date of admission

(d) 00% refund of fees – More than 30 days after formally notified last date of admission

7.Fees will be refunded by all HEIs to an eligible student within fifteen days from the date of receiving a written application from him/her in this regard.

8.All universities shall mandatorily constitute a “Grievance Redressal Committee” (GRC) mandated by UGC (Grievance Redressal) Regulations 2012 to address and effectively resolve complaints, representations and grievances related to any of the issues mentioned in this notification, among others articulated in the regulations.

9.Any act of retention of original certificate or non-refund of fee by any college shall be deemed to have been committed by the affiliating university which shall only be liable for punitive action by the UGC.

10.The Commission reserves the right to write to accreditation agencies about the misconduct and malpractices of the erring HEI with the request to take all such actions as deemed fit by them to ensure compliance.

The notification titled Remittance and Refund of Fees and Other Student-centric Issues Dt. 6 December 2016 is available on the official website of the UGC:

 http://www.ugc.ac.in/pdfnews/5681274_Fee-Refund-Notification.pdf

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