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In a major relief to students who aim to pursue professional courses in higher education, the Fee Regulating Authority (FRA), Maharashtra has appealed that the 10 per cent increase in fees for the academic year 2020-21 should be reversed in view of the pandemic and economic crisis. Educational institutions and professional colleges are requested to file their responses to FRA’s appeal within seven days. The FRA released a notice on October 12 stating: “As the full deflationary impact of the Covid-19 pandemic is being experienced during the financial year 2020-21, it stands to reason that the increase at 10 per cent in the said fee-structure should be reversed. Considering the general immobilisation of personnel and students due to the lockdown and its aftereffects, the enhancement in permissible expenditure on meetings, gatherings, sports etc. is no more justifiable. The same is therefore proposed to be reversed.”

This appeal will impact the fee structure of professional colleges offering medical, dental, pharmacy, engineering, architecture, management and hospitality courses. The head of a chain of management colleges in Mumbai, said, “We will go through FRA’s appeal and discuss it with the management board. The FRA has appealed to scale down the fee structure for this academic year. We will strive to provide fee relaxations to students. But online education and virtual learning has increased other costs which need to be addressed.”

Further, the FRA has appealed to colleges and educational institutions to withdraw the special hike under "equalising factor" which is received at the entry level. Also, the development incentive in the fee-structure which the FRA has been granting every consecutive year has been negated for 2020-21. These appeals have been made by the FRA due to the financial impact of the unprecedented Covid-19 pandemic and the ongoing lockdown. The FRA stated, "The lockdown has deeply damaged the economy. Households are reducing current as well as planned expenditure due to reduction of income. As a result of these factors, inflation-expectation for the financial year 2020-21 and the next 2021-22 is at the lowest."

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