The 150-odd students further alleged that the college has given them till Thursday to pay up and threatened to reject their examination forms otherwise.
The college has denied making this demand.
The students said they’ve been receiving the scholarships for four years and that the college has made such a demand for the first time. The college, however, said the students were not charged tuition and exam fees at the time of admission on the assumption that it would receive the scholarship from the state social welfare department.
This year onwards, the government has started depositing scholarships directly in the beneficiaries’ bank accounts under the direct benefit transfer (DTP) scheme.
Once they received the notice from the college, the students staged a protest. “All of a sudden, while submitting the examination form, we were told to pay the money received as part of our scholarships. We told the college officials that unless the social welfare department tells us officially to refund the fees, we will not be in a position to pay the college,” a student said.
“After we met the college principal, she agreed to accept our examination forms, but the issue of fee refund remains unresolved — we have been asked to pay up at the earliest,” another student said.
The students are beneficiaries of 50 scholarship schemes run by the social welfare department.
“Till last year, the social welfare department had transferred the scholarships to the college bank account, so we never charged the beneficiary students tuition and exam fees,” college principal Vaijayanti Joshi explained. “This year too, students were not charged the scholarship amount (Rs4,625) at the time of admission. However, this year onwards, the state government has started the DBT scheme,” she said.
Joshi added that, as students have not been charged to the extent of the scholarship, the money transferred to their accounts needs to be refunded to the college. “We will not let students suffer on the examination front — this issue will be treated separately. But students have been receiving the scholarship amount since Tuesday in phases. So students must refund the college as and when they receive the money,” she added.