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IITs Seek PG Courses Fee Hike by Six Fold

Around 80 percent of the financial needs of the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) and their entire capital costs are currently funded by the government. After hiking the course fee for their undergraduate courses, the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) are seeking to hike their PG courses fee by six fold.

IITs want a six-fold student fee hike for postgraduate courses to reduce their financial burden at a time when the government is pushing for more revenue generation at these elite institutions. The IITs have underlined that though they spend over Rs 1.24 Lakh per annum, they only charge around Rs 20,000 per annum from each student of selected category. The over-dependence on government funds, coupled with the widening gap between actual costs incurred and tuition fee charged, has long been considered a major deterrent to the IITs’ efforts at financially independence. 

The revenue sources of the IITs include student fees, government receipts, investments and others (entrance exam fee, library fee, sponsorship etc). In a proposal, the IITs have underlined that though they spend some Rs 10,400 per student per month or over Rs 1.24 lakh per annum, they only “charge Rs 20,000 per annum” from student, as per the agenda document of the IIT council meeting.

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All the 23 IITs, their board chairmen who are largely industry leaders and top officials from the human resource development (HRD) ministry will take up the matter and try to take a call on this sooner in Mumbai. With the number of post-graduate students increasing in the IITs, these engineering schools feel that it’s time to hike the fee for post-graduate students to maintain quality and provide good facilities to students.

The move comes a year after the IIT council headed by human resource development minister last year increased the course fee from Rs 90,000 to Rs 2 lakh per annum for undergraduate IIT students.

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While allowing the fee hike, the government then (April 2016) had convinced the IITs to waive, in full, the annual fees for students from scheduled caste and scheduled tribe and differently-abled categories. Besides, students from families with an annual income of less than Rs 1 lakh are getting free IIT under-graduate education and those belonging to families with annual income of less than Rs 5 lakh are getting a waiver of 66% of the total fee.

IITs also want this to be reviewed as free and discounted education is impacting their financials adversely and giving the false impression that the fee hike at the under-graduate level has improved their financial condition. The IITs are set to demand that the HRD ministry should compensate the fee waiver component or do away with it by making loan facility smoother for every category of students.

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AfterGraduation Experts states that “increasing the tuition fee is just one way of raising funds. Industrial consultancy and generation of income from IPR are two areas where the IITs must concentrate more. The root of the autonomy challenge lies in the inability of the IITs to be financially independent.” Being largely funded by the government, the IITs are subjected to government spending regulations and audit. The IITs’ ability to invest is also constrained by the spending curbs of the government. This has put the IITs at a disadvantage compared to many reputed universities around the world which have full financial autonomy.

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