In a significant move, the Union Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) on Saturday said action will be taken against those higher education institutions who are not returning fees in case of withdrawal of admission by a student.
“As per the AICTE and the UGC norms, institutions are bound to return fees and original documents of students in case a candidate opts to withdraw the admission,” an official at the MHRD was quoted as saying by a news agency.
“It has been often noticed that some institutions don’t refund fees or deduct an extravagant amount while returning. Such institutions will now face action,” the official added.
The MHRD has also asked the AICTE and the UGC to take stringent action against those institutions, including deemed varsities, if they violate these directions.
“This could include withdrawal of approval and recognition of erring institutions,” the official said.
The decision from the MHRD has come to prevent professional institutions from exploiting students who exercise other options of joining institutions of their choice.”
Last month, the AICTE had asked all technical institutions across the country not to hold back the original documents of students if they leave with their courses before-term.
The AICTE has also warned to take disciplinary action against those institutions who violate this directive. The punitive action would include suspension of approval, a fine of five times of the total fee collected and even reduction of approved intake.
The decision from the AICTE came after the council and the MHRD received a number of complaints against institutions for refusing to return the original certificates and demanding payment of fees for subsequent years even if candidates want to change their college, having qualified elsewhere.
“The circulars have been issued to all the technical institutes under the AICTE and they have also written the complaints to all the individual institutes as well against whom the complaints were received,” AICTE Chairman Anil D Sahasrabudhe said, adding, “The rules have to be followed by all the technical institutes and individual institutes or action would be taken against them.”
As per the AICTE rules, if a student leaves a course before its commencement, the entire fee collected from the student, after a deduction of the processing fee of not more than INR 1,000, shall be refunded. The rules also make it very clear that in case the vacated seat is not filled, the institution should refund the security deposit and return the original documents.