‘Expected SSN College to Refund, Not Ask Fee for Hostel, Library’

Student of SSN college, Chennai writes about how the college is demanding library and hostel fees amid coronavirus.

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My Report
4 min read
Student of SSN college, Chennai writes about how the college is demanding library and hostel fees amid coronavirus.
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I am a fourth year student of SSN College in Chennai.

On 21 July, the college management sent a circular charging Rs 1,70,250 as fees for my batch. I was staying in the hostel earlier. Since I joined via the Anna University counselling, the fee is lesser than those who joined via the management quota or by writing an entrance exam, having paid Rs 1,98,750.

My father lost his job at the end of March and after four months, he got another job with half his pay. At this time, asking us to pay the entire fee feels like a burden. My father has to borrow money to pay for this. And I have to pay 40% , that is Rs 66,000 by 31 August.

The fee details that was initially issued to the students.
The fee details that was initially issued to the students.
(Photo: Accessed by The Quint)

WHY PAY FOR FACILITIES WE ARE NOT USING?

We left the hostel on 17 March and the last academic year would have ended by May. For all these months we didn’t use any college resources, so I thought my college will refund some amount. But they are asking for more fees.

We reached out to our departmental mentor staff and after that we got a revised fee structure which was Rs 3,000 lesser.

After eight days, on 29 July, they sent a final circular which said the fee has been reduced to Rs 1,66,750. So they've reduced 2% of fees.

The revised fee structure
The revised fee structure
(Photo: Accessed by The Quint)

‘MANAGEMENT CLAIMS MONEY WILL BE USED TO SET UP VIRTUAL LABS’

We once again asked them to reconsider the hostel, electricity fees, library fees as we are not using any of these resources.

They sent a mail justifying the fee structure. “Considerable upgradation of our IT services is underway and huge investments are being made for conducting online classes and virtual labs. Further, we are planning to invest in renowned faculty from abroad for virtually conducting short-term courses for the benefit of our students.  Taking all this into account, the heading "Hostel / Transport  Charges" must be read as "Hostel / Transport / Online teaching and virtual lab charges," the mail read.

They are still trying to, nothing has been set up yet. For the past few classes, they have just been playing YouTube videos. And for our departments and a few others, we don’t even need such labs.

For programming and coding, the Zoom app and a laptop is enough.

The mail sent by the management justifying why the students are being charged for hostel and transport.
The mail sent by the management justifying why the students are being charged for hostel and transport.
(Photo: Accessed by The Quint)

NO JOBS ADDING TO WOES

The financial situation for so many students has completely changed. Many parents have lost their jobs and have no means to earn.

One of my friends' mother is a housewife and his father a weaver who sells lungis for Rs 160-Rs 200. He also needs to pay Rs 66,000 in a few days. Where will he get the money from? He will probably take a loan. Another friend doesn’t have a father and his mother distributes food to kindergarten children. So she used to get paid Rs 13,000 per month and now nothing. So how is he supposed to pay this fees? Until now his mother was borrowing from a relative.

Many of my friends have said they will try to pay it in a month or two but then the management has levied a fine for late payment.

As it is, he doesn’t have the money and that's why he is paying late and you are charging more for him! So a rich person needs to pay say Rs 2 lakhs as fees but the poor student has to pay Rs 2 lakhs plus the late fee. How is this fair especially during the pandemic?

‘MANY STUDENTS DON’T HAVE ENOUGH DATA FOR EVEN CLASSES’

When I joined college in 2017, I paid Rs 1,98,000. The management had told they will reduce the fees by Rs 10,000-Rs 12,000 every year. My department seniors were paying a fee amount of Rs 1,29,000 in 2017 and now we are paying Rs 1,67,000, which is Rs 38,000 more.

Now we have regular classes from 8.30am-3.30pm. There are a few who attend only the first half of the classes everyday because they have only 1 GB of data. The college has so far not done anything for many students who don’t have even basic resources.

SSN College’s Response to The Quint

Sources in the college management told The Quint that the tuition fee is as prescribed by the government guidelines. As for the late fee, they said the students can write to the student counsellor and the late fee will be waived. And for the students who can’t afford to pay because of their current economic situation, the college said they will consider to offer them a scholarship.

Sources told The Quint that the costs under the heads of library and hostel will be used for setting up an e-library for students to access from anywhere, and for setting up online teaching facilities for the teachers.

(As told to @smitha_tk)

(All 'My Report' branded stories are submitted by citizen journalists to The Quint. Though The Quint inquires into the claims/allegations from all parties before publishing, the report and the views expressed above are the citizen journalist's own. The Quint neither endorses, nor is responsible for the same.)

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