According to a news report in Deccan Chronicle, around 75 private engineering colleges have stopped admissions for the current academic year and have put themselves up for sale in view of the Andhra Pradesh government’s decision to stagger the tuition fee reimbursement programme.
The Y S Rajasekhara Reddy government had promoted a Rs 2,750-crore program to benefit 27 lakh students enrolled in plus-two to higher studies, which the present Kiran Kumar Reddy-led government has ventured to scale down for the current academic year.
As per the new guidelines, students with 75 per cent attendance, 50 per cent marks in first year of plus-two and an income of below Rs one lakh a year are eligible for reimbursement of tuition fees.
The government decision has dealt a death blow to 720 private engineering colleges in the state. At least 75 colleges, 50 in and around Hyderabad, have offered themselves for sale.
“The setback in government policy to promote higher education through tuition fee reimbursement scheme has resulted in 75 corporate colleges becoming unviable,” a spokesman for the state council for higher education (AICTE) said.
Officials said colleges that were started to cash in on the government policy since 2007 managed to get AICTE approval, leaving the state with a record 2.75 lakh seats in around 720 colleges.
Hoping to make a quick buck with the government policy of reimbursing fees, the educational institutions got approvals for another 75 engineering colleges last year.
But both the Rosaiah and Kiran Reddy governments dilly-dallied and even delayed payments of reimbursements for the last two years, putting students and also the colleges in deep financial crisis.
The new guidelines, which has been challenged in court, will deny benefits of the scheme to nearly 13 lakh out of 27 lakh students and would get an allocation of about Rs 1,250 crore, against Rs 2,750 crore now.
State Higher Social Welfare Minister Pithani Satyanarayana said the government said no government could operate a scheme with no ceiling.
As a result of the lopsided implementation of the scheme till 2009-10, the government is yet to clear Rs 1,235 crore in arrears and, in the last two academic years, courts had come to the succour of the students, permitting them to write exams without payment of fees in full.
“The courts have made it clear they will not help the government for a third time. Hence, the rush to regulate the scheme,” said an official of the higher education department.