The premier Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) council, in a watershed decision today, decided to hike academic fee from the present Rs 50,000 per annum to Rs 90,000 per annum-- an 80% increase. Students would now shell out over Rs 3.6 lakh for the four year B.Tech programme against the present Rs 2 lakh.
Also, the fee could now be revised every year. A formal decision on the same, however, may be taken at the future IIT council meetings.
Last time the IITs increased the fee was in 2008, when they doubled the fee for undergraduate courses from Rs 25,000 to Rs 50,000 a year.
"The fee hike would be applicable to students who will come in from the 2013 academic year. This will not be applicable to existing students," said an IIT director on the condition of anonymity.
IIT directors said operating expenses for the campuses have gone up thanks to the inflation. Fee hike would provide the institutions the much-needed cushion.
However, 25% of total students, whose parental income is less than Rs 4.5 lakh per year, are given 100% scholarships. Also, no tuition fee is charged from the students belonging to Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes. A number of other facilities like free mess, free hostel facility and free book bank facilities are available to SC and ST students.
IITs have been toying with the idea of increasing fee to Rs 4 lakh per annum but given the resistance to fee increase, they may look at fee increase in a staggered manner.
“After the Sixth Pay Commission, faculty costs for the IITs have risen about 70 per cent. Since salaries have risen, the money realised through a fee rise would partly go towards meeting the increasing burden of salaries and scholarships,” said M Ananda Krishnan, chairman of the board of governors, IIT Kanpur had earlier told Business Standard.
However, IITs acknowledged that a substantial rise in fees would burden students as the profile of students coming to IITs had changed over the years—the number of students from the upper middle class had declined and there were more from lower classes. Such students find the fee at IITs pretty high. Also, they do not want to take loans.
IITs say once the National Academic Depository Bill is passed, it would enable a shift to ‘demat’ degrees. Then, the degrees of IIT graduates would reflect an obligation to repay the institution and money would come through the employer.
If one compares the fee to the engineering and technology institutions in the West, the difference is stark. For instance, at the US-based Massachusetts Institute of Technology, consistently ranked among the world’s top 10 engineering institutions, the annual tuition fee is Rs 22.55 lakh ($41,770). This, MIT says on its website, is likely to be raised next year. At Carnegie Mellon, also among the world’s top 10 engineering and technology institutions, the annual tuition fee for the graduate engineering programme is Rs 24.23 lakh ($44,880). After factoring in other costs, the fee stands at Rs 27.54-31.86 lakh ($51,000-59,000).