The University Grants Commission has recovered nearly Rs 30 crore from universities across the country, including around Rs 17 crore from Delhi University, for refund of fees for cancelled or migrated admissions during the 2022-23 academic session, according to chairman M Jagadesh Kumar.

In an interview with PTI, the UGC chief shared the statistics and said the recovered amount is being disbursed to 14,443 students.

"A large number of students come from economically weaker backgrounds. They should have the freedom to take admission in a better university, but they may not have the economic means to do so unless they get a refund from the university they had previously taken admission from," Kumar said.

"We get a large number of complaints from students and based on that we talk to the universities and ensure the amount is refunded. Of course, there are many universities which refund the fees on their own as per the University Grants Commission (UGC) guidelines, but we have to intervene in case of several universities and hence, an amount of Rs 12.14 crore has been refunded to 832 students who took admission in central, state, private or deemed universities," he added.

The UGC had earlier mandated that full fees, including all charges, should be refunded with zero cancellation charges for cancellations or migrations up to October 31, 2022. After that date and until December 31, 2022, institutions were allowed to deduct no more than Rs 1,000 as processing fee.

"The UGC has taken a serious note of complaints and court cases filed by students and parents regarding institutions violating these guidelines. The UGC has reiterated that the guidelines must be adhered to strictly and any institutions that violate them will face punitive action," Kumar said.

The UGC chief also noted that Delhi University (DU) has set an example for other varsities on how to handle such grievances from students and refund the fee.

"DU has successfully reimbursed 13,611 students that is a sum of Rs 16.95 crore. Hence, the UGC has recovered a total of Rs 29.10 crore of 14,443 students," he said.

Among the complaints received by the University Grants Commission, 381 were against deemed universities, 243 state universities, 165 private universities and 26 central varsities.

"Over 300 complaints by students regarding fees refund, including 177 against state universities, are still pending and we are talking to the institutes concerned," Kumar added.