(Photo: Ben Husmann)
An increasing number of cases of management institutes refusing refunds are coming to light this year. This time, seven students who withdrew admission to T A Pai Management Institute (TAPMI), Manipal, say that the institute has refunded only 11% of the total fees paid up and is refusing to part with more.
The seven candidates told PaGaLGuY that on securing admission to the two year PGDM (2013-15) course, they had each paid an initial fee of Rs 50,000. Later they paid the first installment of Rs 4,05,000 individually, taking the total amount to Rs 4,55,000.
After confirming their presence on campus on the scheduled date of joining, these students then applied for withdrawal from the program as they had secured admission elsewhere. However, what they received as refund was in the region of Rs 53,000 only.
In the letter sent to the students (a copy of which is in the possession of this online magazine), TAPMI officials have said that the refunded amount fulfills the All India Council For Technical Education (AICTE) guidelines which says that in cases of request for withdrawal from the programme, received after the start of the academic session, only the security/ caution deposit is refundable.
The seven students have now decided to take up the matter with the Ombudsman at TAPMI. The applicants say that during admission, they were given to understand by the college that the intake of students for 2013-15 was 360 but that number was increased to over 400 subsequently.
PaGaLGuY wrote to TAPMI and the response we got via a mail was that the institute was acting as per AICTE guidelines. “Institutes like us do get affected when students cancel their intent to join before and after the date of commencement of the program. With a well-structured time-frame of admissions cycle planned for about a year in advance, including providing for library / data-ware / faculty / hostel and other resources, we do not fill the vacant seats after commencement of the program and this affects the financial viability of the institutions” wrote Prof. Raghunath Rudran, Dean Administration & Director-In-Charge.
The mail further added that with respect to such cases, they institute prefers to respond to appropriate authorities, rather than in the public domain.
We spoke to Pushpa Girimaji, Consumer Rights Columnist, who said that students could get a refund. “Under the AICTE Regulations 2012, every AICTE-approved institution has to set up a grievance-redressal committee and an Ombudsman for redress of grievances of students and parents. Students can either approach this committee, the Ombudsman or then go to the consumer court. In some cases, consumer courts have directed colleges to refund the fees even when the seat left vacant by the withdrawal of the student is not filled.”
PaGaLGuY had asked AICTE, Mumbai for a clarification in the matter but none came by.