The fees of private medical colleges in Maharashtra have shot up. A committee appointed by the state government, Shikshan Shulka Samiti to fix those fees has given its go-ahead. What has shocked everybody is that the fees have increased by more than a hundred percent in some cases! The rates were supposedly fixed after assessment of infrastructure, facilities and faculty. But the fact that the fees have doubled in some colleges is quite shocking specially as this has happened in the middle of the academic year. Two examples:

NCP Salve Medical College in Nagpur has raised its fees from Rs 2,12,930 to Rs 4,41,140! 

Mahatma Gandhi Medical College, Aurangabad, has raised its fees from Rs 1,63,400 to Rs 3,07, 170

That all is not well is evident from the fact that the Parents’ Association of Medical Students is up in arms.  They have pointed out that this is simply ‘profiteering’ and the fee hike is unreasonable. When they demanded to see the statement of accounts this is what they got:

NKP Salve Medical College in Nagpur
Interest: Rs 2.8 crore
Petrol and diesel expenses: Rs 21 lakh
Vehicle hiring costs: Rs 4,26,000
Bank commission: Rs 21 lakh
DA & Allowances payable: Rs 2.38 crore

Other colleges like NDMVPS Medical College, Nasik and the D Y Patil Dental college in Pune seem to have the same story to tell. But they insist that these type of expenses are education related! Well, they have to say that, as taking a capitation fee is illegal.

But whats wrong with these colleges? Private medical colleges take a high under- the-table capitation fee anyway! Everyone knows that all colleges do it. Rs 5-45 lakhs are given under the table for admission depending on the student and the college (the toppers in the merit list in the entrance list get in without capitation fees), and this  money doesn’t get a reciept. Anyone who has taken admission into a private medical college will tell you this. On top of that, these fee hikes!

Actually these fee hikes are a slap in the face of the Supreme Court. It was the court who had appointed a committee to monitor the fee hikes but when this committee was asked by the parents body why they did not act as a watchdog it said that its up to the parents to complain!

Well, its true enough that fees for higher education are low as compared to many countries of the world and yes fee hikes are required if the colleges have to get the best infrastructure and the best faculty. But I would like to know where the money is actually going. They are supposed to be for education expenses but no one believes it. These colleges are actually running a thriving education business! I do not think this is ethical as firstly it is against the law and secondly their first duty is to the students and not to themselves. The government gets all upset when companies overcharge consumers for ordinary products, but is it alright if those in the education business overcharge in the name of Education?  

What seems suspicious is the attitude of the watchdog committee. Why they gave the colleges a free hand (don’t tell me they don’t know about the underhand capitation fees!) and now when the parents complain they say they were waiting for the complaints!