Ahmedabad’s Silver Oak University (SOU), accorded a private university status in 2009 has been forced to eat the humble pie a fortnight after it slapped a hefty enrolment fee of Rs 3,000 that surprisingly included a princely Rs 1,500 for a simple ID Card.
It has had to withdraw this ID card charge following protests by students and an expose by Vibes of India. ( Vo!).
However, students have claimed that this was not the first time University tutors cheated their own students. In the past also, students have been fleeced and asked to keep their mouths shut about it. The University Chairman is Shital Agarwal.
In this recent case, the University fleeced of over Rs 2 crores by floating a retrospective circular to give money for identity cards.
Shocked by a December 22 circular about the fees to students of non-technical programs, a group of students had approached Vo! for justice against, what they called, outlandish charges for an ID Card. When Vibes of India has contacted the university management earlier, it had denied seeking any such fee.
The students were also in the dark. “We were not informed about the extra charges in the fee structure provided to us,” a student of BCA, requesting anonymity had told us.
“The charges were imposed out of the blue and it was not affordable to many,” he added.
Around 50 had approached Vo! that the Shital Agarwal managed Silver Oak University has asked students for Rs which included Rs1500 as enrollment fees and the other ₹1500 are the charges for ID Card.” The students have been enrolled easy back after Diwali and enrollment fees were being illegally collected last month.
The students argued that the charges for the ID Card were too much since an ID Card could be made in less than a fourth of the amount.
Dr M Samir Gopalan, Director and Dean of SOU had told VO!, “The enrollment charges are to be presented to the government by each university and every university has their enrollment fees.”
Asked about the ID Card charges, he simply said he was not aware of the break-up and the “Fees and Forms” department would know. And a staffer at the “Fees and Forms” department had this to say, “There are no charges for the ID Card. ₹3000 are the charges for enrollment.”
Finally, bowing to protests from students, the university issued a circular that the charges for enrollment had now been reduced to ₹1500.
The university informed that it reduced ₹1500 as Professional Regulatory Charges instead of enrollment fees. It also assured the students who had already paid ₹3000 as their enrollment fees that they would not have to pay ₹1500 Professional Regulatory Charges in their second year.
The fees for the entire non-technical program ranges from Rs 35,000 to 70,000 depending upon the specialization and streams.