The Tata Institute of Social Sciences said on Saturday that reports of it withdrawing financial aid to students from the Scheduled Caste, Scheduled Tribe and Other Backward Class communities were a “misrepresentation of facts”.

Students unions in TISS have been on strike on all four of its campuses against the administration’s decision to cut aid to such students from 2017-’19 academic year. Seventy-three former students of the institute have also backed the strike.

In a circular, the institute said that the full fee waiver it had previously extended to Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe students was not mandated by the central government. The TISS registrar said that other institutions did not have any provision for such waivers.

The institute said it provided the fee waiver from the annual maintenance grant budget. However, the budget had been cut substantially over the last 10 years, it said. There had also been an increase in student strength. The TISS circular said that this meant that it was now unsustainable for the college to continue fee waivers.

The circular listed various benefits available to students from the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes communities as per government rules.

It also pointed out that under the Direct Benefit Transfer scheme, scholarship money was directly transferred into students’ bank accounts. But the college said that many students did not apply for scholarships or did not declare that they had received it, and did not pay the fees due. Thus, the institute said it could not recover the amount disbursed to students.

TISS also said that a notification announcing the change in waiver rules was issued in May 2017 itself.

On Thursday, the administration had agreed to waive the hostel and dining hall fees for students from Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe communities in the 2016-’18 batch, but said that they would have to pay the tuition fee.