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June 24, 2019
With fall in admissions and rise in expenditure more than 200 engineering colleges in Tamil Nadu are facing closure.
The recent public notice by Indian Overseas Bank announcing the auction of properties of DMDK president Vijayakant to recover a loan of Rs 5.52 crore defaulted by Andal Azhagar Education Trust, which runs an engineering college in Mamandur in Kancheepuram, exposes the state of the sector in the state.
Anna University has also penalised 92 engineering colleges for lack of faculty and infrastructure. But, say principals, the number of such colleges would actually be around 150 to 200.
Admissions have halved from more than 2 lakh a few years ago to just around 1 lakh in the last two years. This year too the number students to be admitted after online counselling looks to be less than one lakh, foretelling another difficult year for engineering colleges.
“A college needs more than 60% admissions to break even. Last year, around 150 colleges alone got more than 50% admissions,” a principal pointed out.
One of the major expenditures in running a college is salaries, which account for 60% to 70%. Transport takes up another 20% and the rest is spent on maintenance, security and electricity bills.
As a result of poor enrolment, even top colleges are now adopting cost-cutting measures and sacking faculty. A top college near Chennai has sacked 40 of their senior faculty members to cut down cost, a trustee of the college said.
“Except for 30 or 40 engineering colleges, the rest are facing financial crisis. Many colleges are struggling to repay loans with decrease in income. With banks and governments turn a blind eye to our situation, it has become difficult to run engineering colleges,” said P Selvaraj, secretary of Consortium of Self-Financing Professional, Arts and Science Colleges.
He said the timely reimbursement of fee for first graduate students and fee for SC/ST students would have eased the financial burden. The state government is yet to reimburse the post-matric scholarship for 2018-19.
“Instead of allowing the colleges to admit more students, they should be set a limit of around 400,” he said.
M.K. Surappa, vice-chancellor of Anna University, said “We don’t need this many engineering colleges as admissions have come down drastically over the years.”
For 1200 students in four years, a college's annual expenditure would vary between 2.5 crore to 3 crore to pay faculty.
Electricity charges would be around 18 lakh.
Since engineering colleges are outside the city, majority of colleges spend a considerable amount to operate buses and fuel, amounting to 1.5 crore.
An additional 40 lakh is towards maintenance and security.
To run a college with bare minimum strength 5 crore per year is required.
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