“My college fees and other expenses are due today, 15 December. Till now I haven’t received the amount promised under my scholarship. It’s getting very difficult for me to figure out what to do if I fail to pay my fees. I think I will be taken to the debt collection department here and I don’t know what will happen if that happens."Vaibhav, an Indian student of Loughborough University.
Vaibhav and nearly 50 others are studying in different overseas universities with the financial support of the SC-ST overseas scholarship scheme run by Madhya Pradesh Government.
Vaibhav, who went to London in September 2021, says he hasn’t received the funds to pay his education fees and other expenses and has managed to somehow cover the expenses till now through private loans.
“We took out a loan before I started for London and I have been using that to cover all my expenses. But now the loan amount too has dried up and I have only received reimbursement for my travel to London and Visa. No other promised funds have been released," said Vaibhav with a heavy voice.
Vaibhav says he is not alone. There are many like him who are awaiting funds from the government to continue their education. There are 48 students studying in overseas universities under the scheme and many who enrolled in January 2021 are struggling to meet their expenses, including university fees.
Talking to The Quint Sudhir Jain, joint director SC development, MP, said, “We have relayed the message to the finance department and we are expecting the funds within a few days. The students will be transferred their promised expenses under the scheme shortly.”
While Vaibhav and many like him have been left straggling for funds in foreign lands, there are several students whose scholarship has been approved but the dreams of studying abroad have been crumpled as they were told not to enrol citing lack of funds.
Students Told Not to Enrol Citing Lack of Funds
Ankur Rai, a student living in Sagar district of Madhya Pradesh was selected for the scholarship program in 2019. However, when he received the acceptance letter for his MSc Project and Infrastructure Management from Brunel University, London, in September 2021, he was advised to not enrol because the department did not have funds to pay for the expenses.
Ankur got his enrolment transferred for the next batch that will commence in January 2022, however, he has little hope of getting the funds cleared even after he got his admission extended for the January batch.
“I have been waiting for the scholarship funds since 2019 but every time I get the reason that the department doesn’t have funds and I will get the money when they have the funds. I was supposed to take admission in September this year but I got my admission transferred to the next batch of January 2022 as the officers concerned said that currently they do not have funds. I am yet to receive money for my education.”Ankur told The Quint
In October 2021, a month after Ankur’s initial admission offer from Brunel University, he filed a complaint with the National Commission For Scheduled Castes which took the cognisance and ordered the commissioner, SC development department of Madhya Pradesh government, to release the funds urgently and submit an action taken report within 7 days. It has been nearly a month since the commission’s order and Ankur still awaits for the funds to be cleared.
Another student, Rohit from Betul, was selected for a Masters degree in artificial intelligence from Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, Scotland. Rohit left his job in the telecom sector for his Masters but couldn’t even enrol as funds under the scholarship weren’t released by the government.
Rohit’s father is a caterer and the family can’t afford his education overseas on his own.
"I am the only student who was selected for a course of artificial intelligence from MP and despite the odds, till date, I couldn't even take admission as they haven't released the funds. We have been visiting the offices, meeting with the authorities but no result. I don't know what will happen. I left my job for my education and now even though I deserve it, I am not getting the education."Rohit Athwale, student.
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