The St Stephen’s College has set up a COVID-19 Resilience Fund to support its students during the pandemic. The college has invited funds from alumni and students to support those who are struggling to pay their tuition fees. While this is beyond doubt a welcome move, students and teachers also pointed out that the college is to blame for the humungous fees as they had charged hostellers Rs 100 per day for not being able to clear out their rooms.
The notice which is doing its rounds on social media, asks for contributions to “partially or fully support the tuition fees of affected students”. “Your contributions will be recognised on the college website and the beneficiaries will be made known to you,” it further clarified.
Senior professor and former DUTA president Dr Nandita Narain said that this move is a result of the continuous prodding by the students and teachers to help those in need. “We raised this concern during the Finance Committee meeting and said that we do not necessarily need to depend on the government to help our students. We can be pro-active and take steps ourselves. A lot of students have been raising funds, not just for Stephenians but for other students across Delhi University,” she said. “The students are in financial distress because of the college. They had imposed a Rs 100 per day fine for those who could not clear their hostel rooms amid the raging pandemic. It was high time they took steps to help,” she added.
The college has also invited applications from “undergraduate junior members (second-year and third-year students across disciplines) for a limited number of College Bursaries which are available for disbursement this year”. But there are some conditions — A minimum of first division as aggregate in University Examinations, family annual income not exceeding Rs 5 Lakh, no other scholarship or financial aid that exceeds Rs 20,000. “To impose a first-division only criteria is very discriminatory. But they have agreed to make exceptions on cases where there is an immediate need of funds. But the notification might deter students from applying in the first place,” said Dr Narain.