Less than 10 days after the council of Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) announced a four-fold increase in fees, private engineering colleges are mulling a hike of 15 to 30 per cent.
Kolkata-based Institute of Engineering Management (IEM), for instance, has plans to hike fees from the current Rs 70,000 to Rs 1,10,000 yearly. “Based on just the fees, the expenditure at an IIT student is pegged at about Rs 2,50,000 yearly,” points out Dipak Chatterjee, director, Kolkata-based Institute of Engineering Management (IEM). “Of this, till now Rs 2 lakh will be government subsidies. How can they, then, expect us to provide quality engineers at less than Rs 70,000 yearly?”
He says most other private engineering colleges in the state are soon likely to follow suit. “We will approach the state government for up to a 40 per cent increase in fees once the plans for hiking the fees in the IITs are finalised,” adds Chatterjee.
The story is similar at Bangalore’s RV College of Engineering, one of the better known engineering institutions.
Its trust is planning a fee hike from the current Rs 75,000 to Rs 1,25,000 per student per year. “Currently,” says in principal B S Satyanarayana, “45 per cent of the students pay up to Rs 30,000, 5 per cent pay no fees and 50 per cent pay about Rs 75,000. We are going to ask the higher band to be increased to Rs 1,25,000 from the next session.” Even Ahmedabad-based Nirma Institute of Technology (NIT) recently hiked its fee from Rs 2.40 lakh to nearly Rs 3 lakh for all its four-year engineering degree courses, including mechanical, electronics and electrical steams.
According to an institute source, the fee hike was a “routine move”. It has “nothing to do with what IITs did”.
Over 60 private engineering colleges in the western state have been demanding a hike in fees for more than a year now, citing issues of increasing expenditure and need to expand. The move to hike the fees in IITs is expected to give more teeth to the demand. But the fee hike, when implemented, is likely to have to a stronger impact given that while the all 15 IITs put together have about 10,000 seats, private engineering colleges have over five lakh seats across more than 2,200 institutions.
That fees hike in private engineering colleges is a contentious issue is well documented. The Karnataka government had set up the B Padmaraj Committee to recommend the formula for fee hike in Karnataka. The state, incidentally, is the second largest producer of engineers in India and has over 1 lakh seats across 200 institutions.
“The approved student teacher ratio set by the AICTE [All India Council of Technical Research] is 15/1,” points out Satyanarayana. “The target ratio set by the IITs, is 10/1. For private engineering colleges to achieve the IIT target ratio, the annual fees should at least by Rs 1,25,000 yearly.”
Another director, of a leading engineering college in Bangalore, says increasing the fees has become a matter of compulsion, following the order to implement the Sixth Paying Commission salaries.
According to current rules, private engineering colleges can hike fees subject to the state government’s approval. However, according to industry experts, there are ways to work around the rules, given the fact that fees figures as reflected on balance sheets are often augmented by research and infrastructure expenses among others.
“If one talks about just expenditures,” reveals Ajay Antony, director, IIT JEE and AIEEE, at TIME Institute, “a student at a private engineering college spends up to 30,000 more yearly by way of expenses as compared to an IIT. Just 40 per cent of the overall expense incurred by the student goes toward fees. Nevertheless more hike will inevitably follow.”