Ishita Ranganath|Jan 20, 2023
IIM Rohtak declines fee refund requests, students lose lakhs in IPM, IPL admission
IIM Rohtak said applicants get ‘prior information' about admissions. In several cases, candidates cleared IPMAT and wanted to join IIM Indore.
NEW DELHI: Taking admission in one of the premier management institutes of the country became a nightmare for Daksh Tyagi, 17. He ended up losing Rs 2.8 lakh in the admission fee to the Indian Institute of Management (IIM) Rohtak.
In August, Tyagi was admitted to the five-year Integrated Programme in Management, or IPM, for students after Class 12 at IIM Rohtak after the declaration of results on July 31, 2022. “The institute asked us to pay a non-refundable admission fee of Rs 2.8 lakh by August 8. Two days later, on August 10, IIM Indore announced its final IPM admission test results (IPMAT). I cleared the examination and withdrew admission from IIM Rohtak. However, the institute refused to refund even a single penny of the amount I paid,” lamented Tyagi.
If the money is not refunded, Tyagi said his family will have to borrow money for the next semester fee .“This financial loss is devastating for me considering I come from a middle-class family. Studying in IIM is already so costly and I am being forced to take an education loan,” he added.
IIM Rohtak charges a total of Rs 33,90,000 for the five-year IPM programme, excluding mess charges, fees for study material, placement facility, utility deposit and similar services. IIM Rohtak is an autonomous institution that is at liberty to decide its own admission fee. According to the IIM Act 2017, the government has no say in the fees charged by these institutes.
Like Tyagi, several other students wrote to Careers360 with similar complaints about fee refunds at the institute.
IIM Rohtak: Unfair fee policy
Ravi Singh*, another student who also wanted to switch to IIM Indore, was also refused a refund. “Everyone knows that IIM Indore’s IPM programme is the best and I wanted to join it. However, the result came after I had paid the fee at IIM Rohtak. I requested for a refund with some deductions but the institute denied all requests and later stopped responding to my calls or emails,” Singh told Careers360 over the phone. “Why are students not being allowed to change institutions as per their preference? Why is IIM Rohtak misusing its autonomy? How is it fair for them to take lakhs of rupees just like that?” he asked.
Singh and Tyagi, who have now joined the IPM at IIM Indore, said there are others in their batch who faced the same problem. “I found a Telegram group where I found a few more students who were denied admission fee refund at IIM Rohtak. All of us are unsure what can be done since the administration has stopped responding to our calls and emails,” said Tyagi.
IIM Rohtak: ‘Lost opportunity’
In a written response to a detailed questionnaire on the issue, IIM Rohtak said: “We do not refund any fees to any student after the student has registered and started academic sessions. Our academic sessions start either the same day or the next day of registration. The reason for this is because that institute is not able to fill that vacant seat after the registration process is done and the academic sessions have started. It becomes a lost opportunity for both the waitlisted candidates and the institute.”
Applicants find this policy unfair. “The institute has a very unfair time frame to secure admission. They gave us only a week to accept the admission and pay the fee. Within such a short time frame we arranged the money and paid it. No other institution has this tight schedule which is unfavourable to students,” said Tyagi.
Defending the timeline followed by the institute, IIM Rohtak wrote: “The candidates participating in the admission process have prior information regarding the various admission-related timelines. The institute website and the programme prospectus, both, offer detailed outlines of the admission process and the commencement of the academic session. The candidate participating in the admission process is well aware of the fact even before [they] enter into the process. Similarly, the fee details and other deadlines are also communicated to all candidates in advance (even before the commencement of the admission process).”
The institute further said that as per their fee refund policy, any student who withdraws from a programme after accepting the offer and paying initial fees like the offer acceptance amount or a first instalment fee can submit their refund request. There is a separate email address for this and a separate committee looks after refunds.
“The process of fee refund is initiated post completion of the admission process. Once the payments received from the candidate are reconciled and verified by the accounts department, the eligible refunds are processed. However, now only administrative charges of Rs. 1,000 are levied on the requests for fee refund. The entire refund process for all the candidates takes a period of approximately 150-180 days for completion,” wrote IIM Rohtak responding to whether the institute received multiple fee refund requests from students.
While most wanted to withdraw admission before attending class, Vishrut Awasthi decided to quit after experiencing discomfort at an IIM Rohtak hostel for three days. He, too, lost a deposit of Rs 3.75 lakh in admission fee. On September 1, Awasthi joined the five-year Integrated Programme in Law (IPL). Upon joining, he claimed, the institute’s information brochure is “misleading” about the facilities provided on campus.
“Since day one, I realised none of the facilities mentioned in the prospectus was provided as shown in the admission prospectus. In my brief stay, I shared an extremely small room with four other roommates. I had asked if I could stay in a paying guest accommodation but they told me that IIMs do not allow students to stay in PG,” said Awasthi.
“The prospectus promises facilities like club house, game room etc but when I saw the room, it looked like an abandoned room with broken chairs. Even for basic facilities like water, you have to climb down four floors. There are very few washrooms and just two water coolers for 400 students,” he added. IIM Rohtak, however, denying all these allegations wrote: “IIM Rohtak provides all the facilities [that] are mentioned in our admission prospectus.”
IIM Rohtak, however, said that the IPL programme is a non-residential programme and "students can request for a hostel facility" or "can choose to stay in a paying guest or residential facility outside the campus." Responding to the allegations of inadequate facilities and fee refund, the institute said: "IIM Rohtak has been providing all the facilities as are mentioned in our admission prospectus. If any candidate withdraws from the programme after the date of registration, no refunds can be processed as due to this withdrawal, a deserving waitlisted candidate could not be admitted as the seats were filled at that time. If the student leaves the programme in between, the seat remains vacant for the entire duration of the programme. The academic session starts immediately after the date of registration."
‘Threatened and forced’
Awasthi also said he was “threatened” by a security guard for arriving five minutes past the curfew at the boys' hostel.
Disappointed with the campus experience, Awasthi withdrew admission and requested a refund. “ I wanted to withdraw as soon as possible from the institute. However, the institute did not cooperate with us. Instead, they asked me to shift to a PG. Later my parents came over to demand withdrawal and the administration told us that we are taking an unwise decision. Since my parents were adamant about withdrawal, we requested a fee refund with a reasonable deduction. I have paid Rs 3,75,000 which includes the tuition fee and Rs 75,000 hostel fee. They outright told us that no refund will be issued. We asked them to refund at least the hostel fee but nobody paid any heed,” said Awasthi.
When asked about its grievance redress system, IIM Rohtak said: “None of the student requests and queries goes unattended. The Controller of Examination (CoE) attends to all queries and concerns related to the admission process and the institute has [a] separate student affairs office which looks after all student matters concerning discipline, grievances, mess, and facilities, among others. To this end, assistance on queries is offered through emails, phone calls and Whatsapp as well. We have a policy that all emails are responded [to] within 72 working hours. It is impossible for anyone to claim that their multiple requests have not been answered. This is factually incorrect.”
In August, the University Grants Commission, UGC, the higher education regulatory body directed the higher educational institutions to refund the full fee to the students who cancelled their admission. the UGC has given a deadline of October 31, 2022 to refund the fee with a deduction up to Rs 1,000 as a processing fee.
“When we were leaving the campus, a teacher asked me to write that I do not have any further claims with the institute on a piece of paper and then sign it. This happened when my parents were not present in the room. I felt that if I do not sign it they will not let me out and unwillingly signed the paper as told,” Awasthi alleged.
The institute said that submission of a "duly signed clearance" by a student who has withdrawn admission is a part of the "standard process". "The student who withdraws from the programme at any point after the academic session begins, he/she has to submit the duly signed clearance form to the office to ensure easy and smooth exit of the student from the institute," IIM Rohtak wrote.
*Name changed on request
UPDATE: This copy has been updated with IIM Rohtak's response on inadequate facilities on campus.
To get in touch, write to us at email@example.com.