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A letter has been addressed to the Chief Justice of the Kerala High Court, the State's Chief Minister and other concerned authorities urging for the grant of fee relief for students of the National University of Advaned Legal Studies (NUALS) in light of the COVID-19 pandemic and ensuing financial difficulties.
The letter, on behalf of the students of NUALS, points out that amid the COVID-19 pandemic the economy has taken a hit and the financial condition of many families of NUALS students have worsened.
The letter adds that, "In such a situation, students and their families would be put in a precarious situation if the full fees are to be remitted in the next academic year as a single lump sum amount."
Further, the letter pointed out that under the current circumstances, since the University had been shut since March, a major portion of the fees such as Electricity charges, Students’ Welfare fund, Sports and Games fee, Medical/Gym/Fitness fee, Bus fee and Debating Society fee remain unutilised for the period of the summer semester.
Moreover, it was stated that during this period, the University is not incurring any charges for electricity, Wi-Fi and such services. Therefore, levying these charges poses an additional burden on the parents of students, the letter states.
The students add that even as per a Government order dated April 13, the University must exempt students from hostel rent and amenities charges for the period of March 23 to May 15.
The letter adds that the request for fee relief is not intended to prejudice the fee that is to be utilised by the University to pay the salary and other remunerations to teaching and non-teaching staff.
However, since a considerable portion of regular classes have not been conducted and the syllabus mandate has been met mostly through assignments and online submissions, the NUALS Students’ Council has urged for arelief of 5% under the head of tuition fee for the academic year 2020-2021.
The students have, therefore, urged the concerned authorities to consider granting the following forms of fee relief, i.e.
Make provisions for payment of the fee in 2 installments for the academic year 2020 -2021. Semester-wise fees may be levied so that families are not overburdened with the lump-sum amount.
25% deduction of fee under the following heads for the academic year 2020-2021: Electricity charges, Students’ Welfare fund, Sports & Games fee, Medical/Gym/Fitness fee, Bus fee, Debating Society fee, Moot Court fee and Miscellaneous fee.
The remaining NUALS Students’ Council Fund for the academic year 2019-2020 may be carried forward to the next year’s Students’ Council fund.
5% of the fee collected under the head of tuition fee may be proportionally reduced from the fee under the same head for the academic year 2020-2021.
The hostel rent and hostel amenities charges levied from the students for the period mentioned in the State Government Order cited above may be reimbursed or carried-forward to the next academic year. Students who opt-out of hostel in the next academic year may be reimbursed that amount.
The said reliefs may also be reflected in the fees for NRI, NRI sponsored and Foreign National students accordingly for the academic year 2020-2021.
Recently, students of RGNUL, Patiala had also made a representation for fee relief to the higher authorities of the State.