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    AP: Govt nod likely for Engg fee hike

    Hyderabad: The state government is all set to effect a steep fee hike - in the range of 40 to 150 per cent - in professional colleges after Friday. The hike would be for both convener and management quota seats. But in a move that will put the burden on students from economically weaker sections, the cash-strapped government is also thinking of putting a ceiling on the fee reimbursement scheme and limit it to `30,000 per annum, that is, it is mulling not to reimburse the hiked part of the fees.“Increasing the admission fee is certain. Around 133 colleges in the state will be permitted to hike the fees. A final decision will be taken after Friday,” a top official of the education department told Express. A case pertaining to the fee hike is pending before the Supreme Court. Though the case was supposed to be heard by the bench on Tuesday, it was not heard. “The Attorney General was busy with some other case. We are expecting that the case will come up for hearing on Friday. If it is not heard on that day as well, the government will go ahead with its plans (fee hike),” an official said.Around 240 professional colleges in the state including engineering, pharmacy and MBA colleges, had approached the state government for permission to hike their fees. But the Admissions and Fee Regulatory Committee had rejected the request of certain colleges citing lack of income and expenditure details in their application. The court had asked these colleges to provide the details and allowed for fee hike in some 133 colleges. Of these, 80 per cent are engineering colleges.Due to the uncertainty over the fee hike, the admissions in engineering colleges for the 2012-13 academic year is yet to begin. The intermediate examinations were completed in March and the qualified students have waited for more than four months already this year. With all the other states beginning their academic year, some students have shifted there for studies. It is in such a situation that the government is proposing to begin admissions after allowing a fee hike.Though the professional colleges would only be too happy with the fee hike, it promises to be a burden for the state as it would have to pay an extra `100 crore to `150 crore as fee reimbursement for poor students. A hesitant finance department is said to have expressed its reservations to the chief minister.“It is up to the chief minister to take a decision on the fee reimbursement for the hiked fee. If he wanted to enhance the fee reimbursement as well, we have no objection,” a source in the finance department said. However, sources said that the government is likely to put a cap on the scheme and urge students to pay part of their fees by themselves.