The tuition fees for the convenor quota seats will be capped by the government, in private universities like VIT-AP and SRM.

College students during admissions Image for representation/PTI
news Education Wednesday, October 27, 2021 - 11:08

Starting from the current academic year 2021-22, the Andhra Pradesh government has introduced a 35% “convenor quota” in private universities in the state. This means that the state government will decide the fee structure for these seats, and the private universities will have to follow mandated reservation criteria as well. More than 2,000 seats in private universities — most of them in BTech courses and a few in BSc Agriculture — will be filled this academic year under the convenor quota, according to Special Chief Secretary for Higher Education Satish Chandra. 

A year ago, in November 2020, the state government had announced that 50% of the seats in private universities would henceforth be included in the convenor quota, to bring them within the reach of marginalised students. However, following discussions with college managements, the proportion has been brought down to 35%, Satish Chandra said. The annual tuition fees for BTech in universities like VIT-AP and SRM University Andhra Pradesh has been capped at Rs 70,000, he told TNM. Annual tuition fees have been capped at around Rs 50,000 to Rs 60,000 in most private universities offering BTech courses, he added. 

The Andhra Pradesh School Education Regulatory and Monitoring Commission had also recently fixed a uniform fee structure for the next three academic years.  While the move was intended to put an end to the exploitation of students and parents by corporate schools charging exorbitant fees, many schools said the fee structure was too low and unsustainable, and moved the High Court challenging the government orders. 

Two weeks ago, the Andhra Pradesh High Court quashed a government order fixing the fees for post-graduate medical and dental courses from 2017-18 to 2019-20, based on petitions from managements of medical and dental colleges. The High Court directed the Andhra Pradesh School Education Regulatory and Monitoring Commission to issue a fresh fee structure, while considering the arguments of each college and also explaining the rationale for fixing the fees. 

In the case of the convenor quota, however, private universities are on board with the fee structure, Satish Chandra, said, adding, “The fee structure was also decided after discussions held with college managements. Since the remaining 65% students will be paying the usual fee amount, they have agreed to the fee limit for the convenor quota seats in the interest of making these universities accessible to students who cannot afford them otherwise.” 

The usual tuition fees for BTech in VIT-AP is around Rs 1.95 lakh per annum, and in SRM University Andhra Pradesh, it is around Rs 2.5 to 3 lakh per annum. This has now been capped at Rs 70,000 per annum. Hostel and dining fees, transport charges and other fees, however, will be levied for students in the convenor quota seats as well. However, students eligible for welfare programs will have their fees reimbursed under the ‘Vidya Deevena’ and ‘Vasathi Deevena’ schemes for tuition and hostel fees, Satish Chandra said, noting that nearly 87% of the students enrolled in higher education in the state are eligible for welfare schemes. 

Admissions for the convenor quota seats will take place based on EAPCET (Engineering, Agriculture and Pharmacy Common Entrance Test). For now, engineering and agriculture courses have been brought under the convenor quota, as there is no common entrance test conducted by the state government for other subjects like architecture etc. A method for convenor quota admissions for such courses might be devised in the coming years. 

Apart from VIT-AP and SRM near Amaravati, some of the major private universities in the state include Saveetha Amaravati University, Centurion University in Vizianagaram, Krea University in Sri City and the Bharatiya Engineering Science & Technology Innovation University (BESTIU) in Anantapur. Earlier, private universities in the state could fill all their seats independently, with no fee cap. In case of private colleges affiliated to state universities, 70% of the seats for professional courses like BTech and BPharm were included in the convenor quota to be filled through state-level common entrance tests, while all seats to degree courses like BA and BCom came under the convenor quota, with admissions happening through a common centralised process overseen by the state government. 

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