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Bharathidasan University in a fix

Though Bharathidasan University has ₹244 crore in investments, inclusive of about ₹86 crore corpus and reserve fund of ₹ 45 crore, it is still far from being in a financially strong position as expenditure has been overshooting revenue over the last five to six years.

The surplus position may not last for the next four to five years, according to university sources.

Two main reasons for the progressive loss in revenue are closure of distance education centres, due to restrictions imposed by Distance Education Council, and the expenditure incurred on running 10 constituent colleges.

After the DEC prohibited universities from offering distance education beyond the State's boundaries and from running study centres through franchisees a few years back, Bharathidasan University had to close down profitable centres at Dubai and Bengaluru, where alone, there used to be over 1,000 admissions for MBA every year.

The UGC too issued instructions banning degrees awarded through any franchisee programmes operated by private institutions.

Alongside, the university had to bear substantial expenditure for running the ten constituent colleges at Kurmbalur and Veppur in Perambalur district; Orthanadu in Thanjavur district; Lalgudi and Inamkulathur in Tiruchi district; Aranthangi in Pudukottai district; Thiruthuraipoondi and Nannilam in Tiruvarur district, and Vedaranyam and Kadambadi in Nagapattinam district.

The government meets the expenditure of the constituent colleges only for the first five years. Six of the constituent colleges have crossed the threshold and are now financially dependent on the university. The amount generated as fee collected from students of these is not sufficient even to meet the salaries of the teaching staff as the amount is kept low for parity with the structure followed by government colleges.

Fearing that the progressive decline in financial situation would have an adverse impact in getting pensionary benefits five to six years down the line, the non-teaching staff of the university has been raising objection to the university's policy not to raise the fee in constituent colleges.

University sources said there was no immediate cause for fear about pensionary benefits since the new appointments were being made under the contributory pension system. Also, 20% of the surplus revenue from Institute for Entrepreneurship and Career Development and a few other income-generating divisions were being transferred to pension fund.

Sources said the university's financial position would stabilise to some extent if the nearly 50 sanctioned vacancies for which the salary expenditure would be borne by the government were filled since the deductions that would be made on pension count would add up to the revenue in the long run.

While restructuring fee structure in constituent colleges would not be in the interests of first-generation graduates from socio-economic backward groups, there was an imperative need for revamping the distance education set up for regaining lost ground, by increasing the number of centres within the State, university sources said.


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