For quite a few government school students, the States announcement that it would constitute a revolving fund to absorb the fees component in self-financing medical colleges came too late.
These students had been allotted seats in self-financing medical colleges and since they could not afford the fees, they opted out.
S. Subathra of Nengavalli, a village in Salem district, said she chose to be wait-listed for a seat in a government medical college. The visually-impaired student had scored 170 marks in the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET).
Her father is a painter and her mother, a weaver. We would not have been able to handle the huge fees demanded by private colleges. Hence, I requested for the waiting list quota in a government college. If the State governments announcement had come earlier, I would have confidently chosen a self-financing college. The State government should consider conducting re-counselling for candidates like me, she said.
The 7.5% reservation in undergraduate medical admissions for NEET-qualified government school students was a boon for M. Arunpandi, who had secured 190 marks in the examination.
The son of a manual labourer in a remote village in the arid Tiruchuli taluk, he appeared for counselling on Wednesday and was allotted a seat in a self-financing college. But when we heard that the annual fees was 4.5 lakh, apart from the commitment for food and accommodation at the hostel, we gave it up, he said.
Another student of a government school in Tiruchuli has joined a science course in Madurai.
I had to opt out as paying the tuition fees for a private medical college is beyond my familys capacity. Had the government made this announcement earlier, I would have joined MBBS. Now, I can only wait and prepare better for next years NEET, he said.
The father of an SC candidate, who had been allotted a seat in a self-financing college in Coimbatore, said, When the college authorities told us that the annual fees would be around 10 lakh, we were shocked. I earn a paltry sum. He pins his hopes on assistance from voluntary organisations to sponsor his sons education.
S. Thangapetchi, a student from Panamoopanpatti village in Usilampatti block who belongs to a de-notified community, chose to be wait-listed for a government medical college seat for want of sufficient funds. A student of a government school in Vikkiramangalam, Madurai, she had scored 155 in NEET.
Her uncle, V. Alagarsamy, who had accompanied her for the counselling, said she had qualified for the medical seats in a few self-financing colleges.
But we were unable to pay 25,000 immediately to secure the allotment letter, he said.
Moreover, the colleges annual fees of around 6 lakh was too steep. Both my parents are agricultural labourers. We cannot afford to pay such a hefty sum for the tuition fees every year. My name is currently on the waiting list, said Ms. Thangapetchi, who is the eldest of four daughters.
Selection Secretary G. Selvarajan said the issue of candidates opting out of counselling had not come to his attention. If such a thing has happened, we will collect the data about these students and bring it to the governments knowledge. After discussions, we will provide a solution for them, he said.
(With inputs from Vignesh Vijayakumar in Salem; S. Sundar in Virudhunagar; and P.A. Narayani in Madurai)