Forget capitation fee, get paid to study engineering in Tamil Nadu -

Gone are the days when eager engineering aspirants
 surreptitiously approached colleges to pay
 capitation fee to book seats. Now, the colleges are 
offering to pay faculty and students thousands of rupees
 to get students of their choice.
CHENNAI: Gone are the days when eager engineering aspirants surreptitiously approached colleges to pay capitation fee to book seats. Now the colleges are offering to pay faculty and students thousands of rupees to get students of their choice.

With thousands of management seats going vacant in engineering colleges in the state, institutions know that students with good marks can get their pick of courses. This has prompted leading colleges in and around the city to take proactive steps to woo the best students to their institution. In addition to advertisements and scholarships, they now turn to their faculty and students to spread the word, and are willing to reward their efforts.

"The management has said that it will pay us Rs 15,000 for a student with a cut-off of 185/200 or higher. For referring a student with a cut-off between 160 and 185 we get Rs10,000. It is offered as an incentive. It is a win-win situation, as the student with such high marks can also get scholarships and tuition fee waivers from the college," said a faculty member of an engineering college in the city.

Existing students have also been made the offer. Students in their second, third and final years can get Rs 10,000 to Rs 15,000 waived off their tuition fee for the next academic year. "This is an admission tactic. Even if they offer a full tuition fee waiver, colleges stand to benefit from filling seats rather than let them go empty. They make do with hidden charges like transportation fee or books," said an admission officer for a group of engineering colleges in Erode. When they get good students, the reputation of the college improves, and they are able to attract companies for campus placements, he added.

"Interest in engineering has visibly reduced. Many look at the state of older siblings or neighbours and friends who have done engineering in the last couple of years and find them unemployed. So, even colleges in Coimbatore and Chennai have to resort to this," said educational consultant D Nedunchezhiyan of Technocrat .

Colleges engage in such practices to get a high academic ranking, which is now looked at as an indicator of a good college. "College managements expect faculty members to do these kinds of jobs. I was asked to approach schools, speak to the school principal about the merits of the college and ask her to give my contact number to students who score high marks," said a teacher in a private engineering college near Chennai.

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