The Indian High Commission in Ottawa has issued an advisory for Indian students whose studies are affected by the abrupt closure of three colleges in Canada’s Quebec. Thousands of Indian students are in a fix with the sudden change in the status of their educational institutions.
The three colleges, M College in Montreal, CDE College in Sherbrooke, and CCSQ College in Longueuil, issued a notice to students earlier this month that they were closing altogether. The notice was issued soon after pushing up deadlines for tuition fees, making students cough up huge costs.
According to Canada’s CBC News, all three colleges were run by the same recruiting firm, Rising Phoenix International (RPI) Inc. and have filed for bankruptcy. The request for creditor protection comes a little over a year after Quebec began to investigate several private colleges, including M College and CDE College, for “questionable” recruitment practices for students in India.
“The High Commission has been approached by several students from India who were enrolled in the three institutions,” said the advisory released by the High Commission of India on Friday.
“In the event that they find any difficulty in reimbursement of their fees or transfer of fees, they may file a complaint with Ministry of Higher Education, Government of Quebec,” stated the advisory. It also assured the students that there were avenues through which they could attempt to recover their lost money.
According to reports, the High Commission has been in close contact with Canada’s federal government, Quebec’s provincial government and elected representatives from Canada’s Indian community to support the affected students. The Indian students on February 10 staged a demonstration outside the Canadian consulate in Chandigarh, raising the same issue.
“Soon after learning about the status of these colleges, we requested a refund. As per rules, the refund process should be initiated within 45 days. These colleges kept us in the dark all this while,” said Husan Bawa, a student back then.
The students have also been informed that they are free to approach the Education Wing of the High Commission in Ottawa or the Consulate General of India in Toronto for immediate assistance regarding the issue.
“Students should not make any payments or reveal their personal information to any unverified person/institution offering students visa on payment,” cautioned the advisory.
According to the RPI Group’s creditor protection application, unpaid tuition fees and refund claims from 633 students against the company are estimated at nearly $6.4 million.