The students of the University of Petroleum and Energy Studies (UPES), Dehradun are demanding fee relaxation in light of coronavirus pandemic. The Univerity issued a fee notice on August 9 asking the students to pay the fee latest by August 31. According to the circular, the varsity has introduced 'One-time COVID scholarship for AY 2020-21'.
"In the wake of the unprecedented situation due to COVID-19, UPES has taken another caring step as a part of the 'we care' initiative. UPES has now offered a 'one-time COVID Scholarship for AY 2020-21', which shall be adjusted in the current semester fees as mentioned in the table below. Therefore, there is no increase in the fee for this semester. This Semester increase in the fee is offset by one-time COVID scholarship. Additionally, we are also offering a 5 percent subsidy if the current semester full fee is paid on or before 31st August 2020," the notice stated.
Several students told indiatvnews.com that they want to pay only the tuition fees as the semester will be taking place online. Some of the students also said that most of the colleges in Dehradun are charging only tuition fees.
"They are giving us COVID relief but we can't understand what kind of relief is this. A median family has an earning of Rs.30,000 a month. After making a loss of Rs. 1,20,000 in four months and they forced to use the savings. How are we supposed to arrange such a huge sum for just an online class? When we tried to raise this issue, the university stopped receiving calls and responding to emails. How can the university have the same expenses when the students are not there? They are saying that the colleges will open the university for students in September. But I asked my faculties, they told me there is no chance of reopening the college even after October," a student said.
"I am in the final year and I have lost the opportunity of internship, industrial visit, and job preparation due to this pandemic. But the college is demanding full fees including convocation fees, medical insurance, computing fee among others. We are not in a position to pay everything now," a final-year student said.
The students also said the college is not responding to them or giving them any clarity over their issues.
"We do not deny paying the fees but we only ask how fair is it to the students who are sitting in their homes, using their own internet services to attend online classes, their laptops, computers, and none of the resources of the college so far. College fees constitute infrastructure, electricity, water supplies, library, WiFi, food, maintenance, etc. along with the tuition fee. Also, many students paid an amount of ₹20,000 for Industrial Visit that was going to happen in the month of April/May but due to this unprecedented situation, it got canceled. Now, this semester will be held online completely so why shouldn't they refund our ₹20,000 amount or adjust it in the next semester fee? I want to raise a question that how fair is this to the students? This is the worst economic crisis that has hit everywhere in the world. This pandemic has struck everybody financially as well as mentally,” a B.Tech student said.
Some of the concerns raised by the students are:
- Other academic service fees should be rolled back.
- The students attended college for 2-3 months in the previous semester so the fees should be adjusted accordingly.
- The students want to pay the fees in installments
- The students want to pay only the tuition fees
Indiatvnews.com tried to contact the university officials but haven't received any response so far. The story will be updated as and when their response comes.