In an effort to safeguard interests and address students' and parents' issues on fee refund and retention of original certificates, the University Grants Commission (UGC) has released a new notification. The rules have been formulated by its newly launched committee constituted in this regard.
Its objective is "to prohibit coercive and profiteering institutional practices in the matters related to verification of certificates and testimonials at the time of admission, remittance of fees and refund thereof in case of cancellation of admission and other such student-centric issues."
The rules explicitly state that going forward, no higher educational institute can ask students submit original documents such as academic and personal certificates or mark-sheets, school leaving certificates and so on. The institutes will have to physically verify the original documents during the time of admission and return them immediately. Educational institutes can, however, keep the attested copies of the same.
The notice also gives details of the four-tier system for the refund of fees remitted by the student:
1. If withdrawal notice is served within 15 days before the formally notified last date of admission, students have to be returned 100% fees.
2. If withdrawal notice is not more than 15 days before the formally notified last date of admission, students have to be returned 80% of the fees.
3. If withdrawal notice is more than 15 days but less than 30 days before the formally notified last date of admission, students have to be returned 50% of the fees.
4. If withdrawal notice is given 30 days after the formally notified last date of admission, students have to be returned 50% of the fees.
The notice also states that "No HEI shall make it mandatory for applicants to purchase the institutional prospectus any time during the course of the program of study. Purchasing prospectus shall be the personal choice of the student and he/she has all rights to decide against it in case he/she wishes to access the information from institutional website."
UGC also clarifies that no institute can charge fees in advance except for the current semester/year. "Collecting advance fees for entire program of study or for more than one semester/year in which a student is enrolled is strictly prohibited as it restricts the student from exercising other options of enrolment elsewhere," states the notice.