Private medical colleges in Maha get FRA showcause notice for charging Rs 1 to 2 lakh as caution money
Mumbai: Questioning the excess amount of caution money and deposits, the Fees regulating Authority (FRA), Maharashtra has issued notices to unaided private professional institutes including medical colleges to give justification regarding the same. This has put a big question mark regarding the fee structure of some private medical colleges that charge the students with Rs 1-2 lakh as caution money.
FRA has mentioned the issue in a recent circular dated 04.02.2021. The circular stated, "After visiting the website of the colleges, numbers of shortcomings/irregularities were noticed. Concerned have been served with notices & were asked to explain/justify about the issues pointed out in the notices/office communications. This office has yet to receive responses from many colleges/ institutes."
"The FRA will consider all the issues like collecting exhorbitant amount of caution money, deposits under heads like library, gymkhana, club membership, etc," it further mentioned.
FRA had further asked all the colleges to submit their justifications regarding the same. The circular said, "All the college/institution are hereby, asked to submit their written submissions which they want to make, so as to enable FRA to arrive at appropriate decision."
As per the latest media report by the Times of India, some colleges in the State had been charging Rs 1-2 lakh as caution money alone. Some of the colleges hadn't mentioned their fee structure on the college portal.
The daily further adds that one private medical college in Maharashtra had been charging Rs 2 lakh caution money, Rs 10,000 library deposit, Rs 40,000 for laboratory, and Rs75,000 for hostel and mess deposits. Another medical college had been charging the students with a refundable deposit of Rs 2.3 lakh, of which Rs 1 lakh had been for caution money.
Speaking about the issue, a parent representative has voiced her doubt regarding the deposit money being refunded to the medical students after four and a half years.
While commenting on the matter, an FRA official informed TOI about the excess amount of caution money and library deposits up to Rs 50,000. He further added, "It doesn't end there. There are laboratory, hostel , and gymkhana deposits. At some colleges, deposits run into Rs 2-3 lakh. These days, students do not even use library books worth Rs 25,000, leave alone damaging or misplacing them. The duration for the course is four and a half years and till then, students lose interest on the deposit money too." A college had been charging the students with Rs 1 lakh as refundable deposit for an academic club.
Mentioning that FRA would ask the universities to fix an amount for caution money, the official further informed TOI, "Maharashtra Unaided Private Professional Educational Institutions (regulation of admissions and fees) Act, 2015, is silent on caution money. Hence, managements of private colleges have been arbitrarily charging these amounts. There are colleges which do not charge caution money, or charge a nominal sum. If they can manage, others can too."
TOI adds that some colleges, responding to the FRA notices have claimed that the deposit amount had been fixed by the college managements.