| Calcutta University: Scholarships back on track after three decades
There’s good news for Calcutta University (CU) graduates planning to go abroad for higher studies. The CU authorities have decided to revive the grant of endowment funds to meritorious students wanting to pursue overseas post-graduation degrees.
The funds, amounting to nearly a crore of rupees, had been donated to the university by individuals and were gathering dust for nearly three decades because of a lack of initiative on the part of the authorities in organising the annual procedures for selecting suitable candidates.
“The endowments were given to the university in phases by well-wishers and individuals several decades ago. The scholarships are meant exclusively as financial assistance to meritorious students who have graduated from the university and want to travel abroad for higher studies. Unfortunately, the funds had become inoperative during the past three decades due to several reasons. We will now take proper measures to ensure that the funds are utilised to benefit our students,” declared Suranjan Das, pro vice-chancellor (academic).
However, sources close to the university’s legal section say the drive to reintroduce the system of awarding overseas travelling scholarships has been taken after the authorities realised, rather belatedly, that non-utilisation of the funds may give rise to legal complications.
“I was surprised to see an advertisement in a newspaper, inserted by the university, seeking applications from students interested in availing of the overseas travelling scholarships. I never knew when I was an under-graduate that the university had such a facility for its graduates. I immediately applied for the scholarship and got a call for an interview,” said an applicant, who has been selected by a university in the US for higher studies. He attended the interview on Wednesday.
If the endowments are taken together, the university can award scholarships to approximately 25 students every year. The scholarship is a one-time grant of a minimum of Rs 30,000 per student. Applicants have to be graduates of the university.
Joydeep Sil, CU’s estate and trust officer, said a key reason for keeping the funds unused was that the terms and conditions of some of the endowments no longer apply. Such irrelevant portions of the endowments have been modified, he said. Another reason was that the interest accrued from some of the funds — which makes up the scholarships — was too little to serve present-day requirements.
Since the scholarships had not been given for many years, the annual interest has accumulated and this, subsequently, has enabled the university to revive the scholarship drive.