May 15, 2018
Image credit : Illustrative image
Coimbatore: Even when admissions to medical, arts and science and engineering colleges are on the basis of entrance tests and other admission procedures, many middlemen posing as agents lure aspirants and parents to secure seats in colleges in and around the city.
An investigation by The Covai Post found a big role of professional agents who prefer to call themselves ‘educational consultants’ as well as students who earn commissions for referring students to private colleges behind the racket.
The commission they earn would depend on the fees and donation charged by the colleges.
“If a particular college demands Rs 1 lakh as capitation fees for an engineering course, we may get up to Rs 10,000 as commission. But if it costs only Rs 30,000 then we might take anything between Rs 2,500 to Rs 3,000,” said one of the agents in the city.
The earnings depend on the profile of an institution and their ability to convince students and parents. The agent gets a commission of a minimum 10 per cent or more for each student they refer. Arts and science colleges charge less, bringing lesser commission. It is mainly streams ranging from management, engineering and medicine to agriculture that are attractive for agents. There are many of those who even buy the seats of these institutions in bulk and market them to students from within and outside the State. Interestingly, students studying in many of the private colleges in the region also act as commission agents and brokers in the process.
“I get around Rs 2,000 per seat when I refer someone to my college,” said a student who is doping his graduation at a private college in Saravanampatti. He usually refers students to courses like BCom and BCA, where the fees are comparatively low and hence the commission too. For colleges worried about seats going unfilled, this is a major source to get new admissions.
The use of students is quite popular with many of the colleges because when students speak about an institution among their acquaintances, others take them seriously. “Unlike a professional agent, when a student refers an institution, people tend to take it seriously,” said the owner of an institution.
At the same time, educationists decry such moves as illegal and unethical. “These types of actions should come out. Only then can it be stopped,” said C Pichandy a retired professor and well known academic in the city. A former vice-chancellor who spoke on condition of anonymity said that many such institutions escape because of their political and financial clout. “When students act as agents, the college becomes dependent on them. Thus many of them manage to pass despite their poor academic and behavior. It’s a very pathetic situation,” he rued.