Marine student outrage in India over hostel fees for online classes

Rupees notes. Credit: Manish Rajput/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Students at the Indian Maritime University (IMU) have alleged they are being charged hostel and workshop fees in the new academic year despite all their courses being delivered online due to COVID-19.

Ajinkya Sinha, marine engineering student at IMU, told SAS that IMU is still charging students the full yearly amount of INR225,000 (USD3,050) despite only having access to the university’s online learning platform. According to a Twitter post from an IMU student, course fees for marine engineering, hostel and workshop fees amount to INR98,000 (USD1,330) and 44% of the yearly charges.

Sinha alleged that during the COVID-19 lockdown period imposed by the Indian government on 24 March, students did not have access to university services they paid for. “For six months we haven’t used the hostels, the lab/workshop, the college mess, any electrical supplies. [The university] still asks for full fees!” tweeted Sinha.

Ankit Kumar, IMU student cadet, posted on Twitter that IMU asked for 80% of fees upfront for the next semester, which started on 7 September. “Instead of asking cadets for a fee, IMU should pay back cadets for the internet data we are using for online classes from the part of our tuition fee we paid in the last sem[ester],” tweeted Kumar.

The Indian government imposed a nationwide lockdown to contain the COVID-19 pandemic, which began on 24 March and ended 31 May 2020. Phased lifting of lockdown restrictions started in June with educational institutions reopening from 31 August.

SAS has reached out to IMU for a response.