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`Medical college not following UGC fee structure'

By Ramya Kannan

CHENNAI, SEPT. 10. Even as the furore over admission to professional college in Tamil Nadu dies down, problems have begun for a set of students admitted to the MBBS last year (2003-04). The first batch of Meenakshi Medical College students find that their financial burden far exceeds the estimate they were initially given. In protest, their parents have written to the Raman Commission, set up to regulate the fee structure in medical colleges in the State. They have urged the commission to ensure that only the fee structure recommended by the University Grants Commission be followed.

In a letter they said, "Our children were duly allotted merit seats through the single window system in counselling held for 2003-04 in Meenakshi Medical College, Enathur." They further said that the total amount to be paid by them was Rs. 3.95 lakhs in addition to Rs. 5,000 paid as initial fees at the counselling centre. "But to our dismay, when we received the allotment letter, we were informed that a total tuition fee of Rs. 5.77 lakhs would be levied for the first year," the parents complained. "Though the seat was allotted under the single window selection system, we were penalised."

`No action'

They appealed to the Directorate of Medical Education (on September 1, 2003) and to the Chief Minister (on March 18, 2004) to look into the matter, but till date nothing had been done.

They have also mentioned that for the second year, students have been asked to pay a total tuition fee (inclusive of room rent) of Rs. 6,22,500; for the third year the tentative tuition fee is Rs. 4.47 lakhs, plus Rs. 30,000 for room rent and the fees for the fourth year is Rs. 4,39,500 (plus Rs.30,000 room rent).

They have estimated that the total fee for the entire course is Rs.21,46,000, but fear that it "might be higher, as the college administration is not following any rational approach while fixing fee structures."

Another grievance is that the fees charged for the second batch of students, i.e. those taken in for 2004— 2005, is based on University Grants Commission (UGC) recommendations. As per UGC rules, the fee structure fixed for various professional courses in private unaided deemed universities is Rs. 1.30 lakhs. Though the college has been recently granted deemed university status, the parents pointed out, their wards would still be governed by the Tamil Nadu Dr.MGR Medical University framework.

Attempts to get a response from the college authorities were in vain.

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