Mumbai students demand reimbursement of exam fees if exams are cancelled

Following the appeal of the state higher education ministry to cancel all final year exams, students have demanded reimbursement of their last semester examination fees. Students claim if exams are not going to be conducted then their fees should be refunded by universities, colleges and insititutes.

Students of engineering, medical, architecture, pharmacy and dental programmes claim they have paid their exam fees in advance. Suchitra Mahadev, a final year medical student, said, "I paid exam fees of Rs 3,000 in the month of January. My exams were supposed to be conducted in May. But if exams are not going to be conducted, then what about our fees?"

Universities and colleges charge exam fees along with semester fees, said Hatim Usmani, an engineering student. Usmani said, "We have to pay various fees like exam, library and miscellaneous charges at the start of every semester. Our exam fee amount ranges from Rs 2,500 to 4,500 per student. This amount varies from government to private college, choice of course and quota reservation. It is only fair to refund our fees if exams are going to be cancelled."

Authorities of universities and degree colleges stated it is difficult to refund exam fees of every student. Rasika Chandwani, a teacher of an engineering college, "Exam fees are used for various purposes like payment of supervision staff, paperwork, grading and other facilities. Even if exams are cancelled, teachers and staff involved need to be paid for grading and other work." While Mahendra Jain, a manager of an architecture college said, "Instead of refunding the entire amount, maybe part of the exam fees can be refunded."

On May 19, the Maharashtra higher education minister Uday Samant appealed to the University Grants Commission (UGC) to cancel all final year last semester exams due to the increasing number of COVID-19 cases. Samant said, "We are aware that students have paid exam fees. We will discuss this matter and take a decision in the next two days."

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Free Press Journal