A city college degree is an expensive affair

Undergraduate (UG) general education courses, often seen as playing second fiddle to professional courses, can sometimes literally give the latter a run for their money. In many city colleges, the cost of a three- year bachelor’s degree course runs into several lakhs, making it unaffordable for many.

On the other hand, the prescribed fee for students who are allotted seats after clearing the Common Entrance Test (CET), a medical or engineering seat in an unaided college costs no more than Rs. 46,000 .

This has even dissuaded some students from opting for general education courses. Many prefer to join colleges offering placements at the end of the degree, and such colleges are particularly expensive. A student will have to pursue post-graduation after the regular UG course, thus adding to his cost.

A student told The Hindu she wanted to pursue a Bachelor of Business Management (BBM) course, but had decided on engineering for economic reasons .

At the crux of the problem is the Bangalore University’s (BU) lack of control over what unaided colleges charge. Though it prescribes different slabs of “university fees” for students who have passed their Pre University from the State, for non-Karnataka students and those who have cleared the Central Board exams, NRIs and foreign students, the additional fee is decided by individual colleges.

Former BU Vice-Chancellor M.S. Thimmappa said the concept of grant-in-aid colleges had stopped in the 1990s owing to which a majority of colleges are unaided now. “The university has control over the curriculum and exams, but not over the administration,” he explained.

This is illustrated by the varying fee structures of colleges across the city. A college affiliated to BU, which attracts a large number of foreign students, charges anywhere between Rs. 2.2 lakh to Rs. 2.5 lakh for a three-year UG course in the arts, science and the commerce streams. This means that students have to shell out an average of Rs. 83,000 per year.

Autonomous and deemed-to-be universities are not far behind. A popular deemed-to-be varsity has fixed the fee for its BBA course at Rs. 1.4 lakh per annum. As is the case in all other colleges, NRIs and foreign students will have to pay much more. Courses like BCA are more expensive as there are lab costs involved. The coordinator of admissions in a reputed autonomous college said self-financing courses (which do not receive grants from the University Grants Commission) like BBM, cost Rs. 43,270 for State students .

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