After decades of indiscriminate exploitation and treatment of the crucial two-year intermediate course as a cash cow by profiteering corporate junior colleges in Andhra Pradesh, the state government on Tuesday fixed the tuition fees under three categories, factoring in the plight of the common man and people coming from ordinary backgrounds.
For private unaided junior colleges located in gram panchayats, the maximum tuition fee has been fixed at Rs 15,000 per annum for science groups, MPC, and BiPC, and Rs 12,000 for non-science or non-maths groups such as CEC, HEC, and others.
For colleges located in municipalities, the maximum fee has been fixed at Rs 17,500 per annum for science groups and Rs 15,000 for non-science groups.
Likewise, for junior colleges located in municipal corporations, the maximum fees have been determined to be Rs 20,000 per annum for science groups and Rs 18,000 for non-science groups.
"It is important to note that while fixing the fee, the plight of the common man and parents or ordinary family has been kept in mind," said Principal Secretary B. Rajsekhar.
The state government notified these fee structures exercising powers conferred under section 7 of AP Educational Institutions (Regulation of Admission and Prohibition of Capitation Fee) Act, 1983 (Act No. 5 of 1983).
Rajsekhar said the AP School Education Regulatory and Monitoring Commission (APSERMC) held a review meeting on March 3rd and determined the fee structure for the two-year course in private unaided junior colleges for the block period 2021-2022 to 2023-2024.
APSERMC arrived at the quantum of collectible fees in these three categories under clause (ii) of section 9 of the AP School Education Regulatory and Monitoring Commission Act, 2019 (Act No 21 of 2019).
Before fixing the fee structure, the commission held a discussion with the management of these colleges, association members, and some parents of students across the 13 districts of the southern state.
The fixed fee is inclusive of tuition fee, prospectus and registration fee, admission fee, examination fee, laboratory fee, sports fee, computer laboratory fee, library fee, extracurricular fee, student welfare fund, student healthcare scheme, study tour, alumni, and other similar fees related to academics.
"In addition to the above (fixed fees), a student is expected to pay optional fee components such as transportation charges, hostel charges (boarding and lodging charges) if he or she opts for the same," noted the senior IAS officer.
Rajsekhar said APSERMC fixed separate structure for hostel fees and also coaching fees for preparing a student for competitive entrance examinations such as IIT and other prestigious educational institutions.
"After considering the factors associated with tutorials (extra coaching), the institutions imparting tutorials are allowed to collect an extra amount of Rs 20,000 towards tutorial fee including the lecturers and material supplied and tests conducted irrespective of whether the place is located in rural area or town or city," he said.
The maximum annual hostel fee for colleges located in gram panchayats has been fixed at Rs 18,000, in municipalities Rs 20,000, and in municipal corporations Rs 24,000.
In the event any college violates these rules and resorts to collecting more fees than the fixed fee structure, the principal secretary warned of prosecution.
"The institutions shall not charge either directly or indirectly any other amount over and above the fee fixed. If any other amount is charged under any other head or guise, i.e. donations, the same would amount to charging capitation fee and in that case, the institution shall be liable for prosecution," Rajsekhar added.