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College offers Student Welfare Schemes in COVID-19 times

By Father C. M. Paul
Principal Father George Thadathil addressing media
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Kolkata, Jul. 23. The management of Salesian College Sonada in Darjeeling has not increased admission fees this year. The college is also offering scholarships in 06categories, a total of 30 tuition fee waiver in each of the13 departments in an effort to lighten parents' financial burden in these COVID-19 times
''It is our continued effort to make higher education affordable for students whose parents can ill afford to send children out station for higher studies in these corona pandemic times,'' explains Principal Father George Thadathil, who has given leadership in higher education in the hills for almost 20 years.

For the past 20 years, the college, situated in Gorabari village, has tried to provide world class facilities and ''we shall continue to make higher education affordable to common people in these Covid-19 times,'' the Salesian priest said.

Prior to reduction last year, admission fee was Rs. 30,000 plus. The current reduced admission fee for various streams are: BA/B.Com Honours (Rs.15,100), Mass Communication (Rs.16,100), BCA (17,100) and B.Voc (Rs.3,335). The tuition fee is to be paid trimonthly in September, December, March and June.

Speaking about facilities the college offers, director of Radio Salesian Father C.M. Paul says, ''Salesian College is the only College in North Bengal and entire northeast India with a Radio Station and Television Studio offering students opportunity for hands on training to gain professional media skills.''

Besides keeping last year's admission fee unaltered, the college located on NH 55 (Hill Cart Road) midway between Kurseong and Darjeeling, has introduced Tuition Fee Waiver Scholarship Scheme offer to some 390 students spread-out in 13 departments.

Scholarship categories include Academic Merit for those who obtained aggregate 90% and 85% marks (75% and 50% tuition fee waiver respectively), Sports, Media Skills, Specially abled persons and BPL categories, provided they scored 75% and above aggregate marks will get 50% tuition fee waver at admission time.

''It is great news for students, especially meritorious students from economically backward classes to avail of such tuition fee waiver scheme,'' says Student Council President Bikash Agarwal.

An excited Student Council Vice-President Risha Rajak is quick to add, ''The tuition fee waiver scheme is a boon, offering higher education opportunities not only to academically deserving students, but also to students in other categories like sports, and media skills.''

Second year B.Com Honours student and Student Council Secretary Peter Gomes from Kolkata expressed his delight when he heard that the college is offering 65 scholarships to BPL (Below Poverty Line) certificate holders, and another 65 for differently abled students saying, ''I am simply proud that our college is coming forward to help economically and socially marginalized students offering them chance for higher education.''

The students availing scholarships under various categories are required to maintain stipulated SGPA (Sessional Grade Point Average) 9 and 8 out of 10  in the university exams each semester, failing which they have to relinquish the tuition fee waiver.
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