The students at Sunbeam College for Women in Varanasi are demanding fee relaxation in light of the coronavirus pandemic. According to the students, the college which is affiliated to MGK Vidyapith had issued a fee submission circular via WhatsApp on September 7. According to the notice, students of the college will have to submit the fees latest by September 30, 2020. “With reference to the letter received from the MGKVP dated 5th September 2020 all 2nd-year students are promoted to 3rd year. Thereafter, students are requested to pay the first installment of the total fees for the session 20-21,” the notice stated.

 
Giving information, the students told India TV Digital that the pandemic and the lockdown have terribly affected their financial situation and they will not be able to pay the full fee. The students also said that since they are not using any college facilities other than the online classes, they want to pay just the tuition fee.
 
“We want fee concession as our parents cannot afford such a huge amount during this pandemic. We are just asking them to take our tuition fee because we are only attending online classes but they are charging Rs. 34,700 as our first installment. We want the details regarding why they are charging such a huge amount as we haven’t used any college facilities. We have not given exams but they are charging for all these things. We want to pay only tuition fee,” said a student.

“My father is a retired engineer. He is not even getting his pension. How will we pay this much amount?” asked another student.

According to the students, the college administration is asking for proofs of financial instability, after the students requested the authorities to allow some concession in fees. “The income of our families are affected due to the pandemic. It’s obvious, still the college authorities need proofs,” said another student of the college requesting anonymity.

Upon being contacted by India TV Digital, Dr. Madhulika Singh, Administration Head of Sunbeam College for Women said as all students have been promoted they will have to pay the fees for the upcoming session.

“The University has promoted all the students and now these students will have to pay the fees to register for the new session. This is being done by every college in the city. There is no order from the government that we cannot charge fees from the student. Of course, we know its a pandemic. We are not asking them to pay today or tomorrow,” said Dr. Madhulika Singh.

When asked if the college is asking for proofs, she said: “No we haven’t come to that point yet. In so many sectors like internet providers, income has doubled. It’s a private college. We don’t get any funding from the government. If anyone is really in trouble they can come and talk to us and we are giving them the time to pay the fees. We are very considerate. The students may tell you anything. No college is taking classes as we do. Our teachers are working ten times more than in offline classes. They are investing so much. This system is new to them. If come and sit in our classes you will see the difference. There is nothing to listen to the students because we don’t have the government order’s to not take the fee.”
 
“It’s just that if a person is working in the government sector…we don’t know. If haven’t even given anything official to the students yet. We announced the fee submission but we asked them that they can submit it in installment, no late fee…everything we are doing is in favour of the students. We are a private college so the fees have to come. We are not hiding anything. We will not do anything that may harm the students. We are going to start the practicals. The office is open all the time they can come and talk to us. Some students are already coming for issuing books. There is no deadline for fee submission,” the administration head said.
 
Meanwhile, another student at the college said, “I want to know the full fee structure. I want to know what they are charging. Instead of clearing our doubts  the college is sending the link of online payment and forcing us to pay before September 30. I am from a middle-class family and the college should understand that it’s our right to ask.”

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