Delay in Scholarship Leaves JNU, Jamia, & AUD Students Struggling

Students say that an inordinate delay in scholarships has disrupted their education and forced them into odd jobs. 

2 min read

“I can very well feel what Lady Shi Ram College student Aishwarya did because I face the same situation every day,” remarks Faisal, as he finds himself in the same situation as second-year student Aishwarya Reddy, who ended her life following months of financial distress.

While Reddy was reportedly pushed against the wall by a delay in conformation of her scholarship, Faisal, a PhD student at Delhi’s Jamia Millia Islamia, hasn’t received his Senior Research Fellowship (SRF) for the last five months.

No Scholarship, No Money From Home

Pressed by a delay in SRF, a research fund granted by the University Grants Commission, Faisal cannot ask money from home, as his tailor parents have no money to offer and have been hit badly by the lockdown.

“When they call, they ask if I have received my scholarship and ask if they should borrow some money and send it to me. But I don’t trouble them and say that I will manage on my own and that there’s no problem. But in reality, the problems are manifold and include room rent, other expenses in a city like Delhi.”
Faisal, PhD Scholar, JMI

Not just Faisal, students at Jawaharlal Nehru University, many of whom hail from extremely underprivileged backgrounds, have been facing delay in scholarships. Vivek, an MA student at JNU says he hasn’t received his MCM Scholarship since January this year.

Calling it a backbone in the life of an economically weak student, Vivek says that the lack of scholarship has forced him to take up odd jobs.

“I am having to take up part-time jobs. Because of this, I am often forced to miss my classes. I can't ask my parents because I am well aware of the financial condition back home. During lockdown my father's business has been hit and I cannot ask him for money,” he says.


Students Say AUD Stopped Stipend After Three Years

At the Delhi-government run Ambedkar University Delhi, PhD students say they had been promised a stipend of five years, even though on paper it was three years. According to Sruti, a PhD scholar at AUD, when students protested, the administration had promised to extend their research stipend to five years, as is the norm.

However, Sruti says the university has not met its promise and has stopped the stipend after three years. Out of the Rs 8,000 she received as stipend, Sruti would spend Rs 3,000 each on rent and mess bills and the remaining Rs 2,000 on other travel expenses.

“I am left to look for a job in the middle of a pandemic, when people who already have jobs are themselves being kicked out of their jobs. How I am going to find a job that easily? I have been applying and not been getting through.”
Sruti, PhD Scholar at Ambedkar University Delhi 

Completely dependent on the stipend, Sruti could not ask her activist parents for money and was forced to vacate her hostel in the absence of a stipend.

(Neither the UGC nor Ambedkar University Delhi have responded to emails sent by this author. This article will be updated as and when a response is received.)

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