Fees Reduction by The Symbiosis International University
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In light of the existing situation, we, the proud students and parents of students of Symbiosis International University, appreciate the University's continuous support and back the decision of the school’s closure for the safety of its students. Symbiosis has been an ideal example for all educational institutions to follow suit in their practices in these unforeseen circumstances.
We are grateful to the administrative staff and most importantly the teachers for their round the clock efforts to normalize this new setup for all their students.
However, We are united and stand resolute in our belief that it is unjust for the College to demand Full Fees and that too with a substantial hike across various Symbiosis institutes in the ongoing current financial and medical crisis. While the facilities such as MOOC Course platforms like Coursera and EdX and the CMIE provide for the students to keep up with the times, it is important to address that the online learning platform is not a complete alternate, but rather a supplement to the On-Campus Physical Learning. In addition to this, the children are not attending College for the entire semester, neither using the premises, utilities, facilities nor all extra circular activities which are now closed for the ongoing semester thus reducing the University’s costs.
Repeated requests across Symbiosis Colleges to receive a clear breakdown of the fee structure declaring the categorization of Tuition Fees, Mess Charges, Facility Charges, Maintainance, and other costs have not been heeded to or have received inappropriate responses. The access to and knowledge of this breakdown is a basic right of the students and their parents as per the UGC Guidelines.
We international students have been facing very arduous circumstances in the light of this pandemic. Our parents are threatened by unexpected unemployment conditions, salary cuts, no paid or unpaid leaves, a steep reduction in benefits, and an extreme hike in prices of day to day necessities.
The following is with respect to the concerns of International Students due to the ongoing pandemic and added pressure of the fee hike by Symbiosis International University.
The hike of the fee is welcomed by the various stakeholders of the university in exchange for appropriate resources provided, however, the current situations for Non-Resident Indians and Foreign National Students who are residents of another country altogether, are highly unfavorable circumstances due to temporary/permanent halt of active incomes for people who are majorly reliant on Jobs. To justify issues of just one specific set of NRIs living in Kuwait, the country passed an Expatriate Quota bill that implied 800,000 Indians being forced to leave the country. This has further impacted various businesses, family stability, and the mental health of the people in the country.
Symbiosis International University has always set a standard for International Students who go through a culturally diverse set of experiences and enrich themselves through what they witness. Keeping apart the fee hike, a student paying almost 75% more fee than a national student does not get to witness or be part of the experience he/she comes to the University for, the very stand apart point of this organization. Hence making the current fee structure, unreasonable.
During this strenuous period, we would like a respectable degree of cooperation by our college that has been extremely supportive and considerate of its international students. We aren't demanding the cancelation of fees or other terms on those lines but kindly requesting a reasonable fee payment appropriate to the current times and economic hardships considering that we do not have access to our college's infrastructure and proficient teaching and development practices.
SIU is asking us students who rely on the University-affiliated hostels for our accommodation to deposit a non-refundable token amount of 50,000 by the 10th of August to reserve their room allotment. The breakdown of the amount is unclear and the authorities have again not given appropriate response or paid heed to our mails. There is no certainty when the colleges and the hostels will open up. They have also not clarified how they are going to refund/adjust the said amount if the hostels do not open up for this academic year.
These fees comprise of expenses such as mess, transport, infrastructure, none of which are being used at the moment by students.
In the previous year, the students had paid for the accommodation dor entire academic year yet had to leave the hostel early because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The authorities had told us that the amount from the previous year will be adjusted to this year and are still asking for a huge deposit.
Due to the financial distress faced by parents caused by COVID-19, parents are highly concerned about the payment of this considerably huge amount just as the token fee.
In addition, there are discrepancies among the institutions regarding collecting the fee. As per our knowledge, SCMS Noida is collecting the Hostel and Mess Fees at the time of joining the campus physically. There are no answers provided by the authorities regarding the use of this huge amount as well as the existence of inconsistency among various hostels under the jurisdiction of SIU.
General Sentiments and Requests:
Over the course of the last few weeks, we have seen businesses and companies suffer, families across the city taking the brunt of this situation- most employees are being laid off, forced to take unpaid leave, or are facing up to 30% pay cuts. Most Businesses are struggling and commercial activity has now come to a complete halt. These are severely difficult times for all of us.
It is a Pandemic and World Crisis for everyone and that means, everyone is facing financial struggles as well which must include the university. The university has to understand that. As mentioned earlier, we appreciate all the phenomenal efforts undertaken by the university for the welfare of our students and are proud to be associated with such an esteemed University.
We are all empathetic with the University's financial commitments and are only requesting the University to do the same for us and provide some relief in this time of unprecedented brutal financial distress where many of us have had our businesses had to shut overnight and others either having received Termination Letters, been furloughed or are surviving on reduced salaries to a mere fraction of the normal salaries in this time where prices of all basic essentials going up by the day.
We humbly request the University that:
1. The Hike in the Fees is not at all justified for this academic year and must be cancelled completely. The same fees as last year shall be carried forward across the board.
2. There must be a substantial reduction in the fees demanded at least for the 1st Installment for all students. The exact details of which will be worked out in due course upon mutual agreement by the parents and the University.
3. We must be provided with a break down of fees demanded and only the tuition fee in addition to a justifiable expense for the technical provisions made by the university must be demanded as a fees across the board for all SIU Institutions.
4. We shall then look at the following installments as and when there are developments on the dynamic COVID-19 pandemic response. If the college does resume physical classes in a month or two by September, which would also imply a majority of our income sources beginning to return to normal with operations coming to life, we shall pay the full amounts for the remaining installments.
All the above being said, we the parents, and students are willing to sit down for a reasonable discussion with relevant authorities of the Universities to work out the details on this very important, sensitive, and fundamental issue.
We appeal to the revered motto of our University:
The World is One Family
And this motto is more relevant today than ever before, and we urge the college to lead by example for other Universities and reduce the fees for at least the 1st Installment for now.
We, as a collective union of the Parents and Students are hopeful for a Cooperative Response to this petition in the form of mails and public statements from Symbiosis International University which would ensure mutual sustainability
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