The Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) have hiked the annual fees for undergraduate courses from Rs 90,000 to Rs 2 lakh, official sources said on Thursday.
Many felt the hike was too steep, and said arranging money for the increased fees may become a problem.
“The Human Resource Development Minister (Smriti Irani) has approved the increase today (Thursday). It will be applicable from the coming academic session starting in July. The hike will not be applicable to students of second, third and fourth year,” ministry officials told IANS.
“Students from families living below the poverty line or having annual income of Rs 1 lakh, Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and physically disabled categories will continue to get full-fee waiver.”
“Students from the general category with annual family income between Rs 1 lakh and Rs 5 lakh will have to pay only one third fees,” the officials said.
The hostel and mess fees will be in additional to the increased fees, the officials said.
The goverment stand is that the fee hike was required since the IIT maintenance cost was to be met largely from fees collected from students. The IITs have been asked to use the increased fees for infrastructure development.
The matter will be placed before the IIT Council for ratification at its next meeting, an official statement released late Thursday said. It said all students shall have access to interest-free loan under the ‘Vidya Lakshmi Scheme’ for payment of tuition fees.
The government took the fee-hike decision after accepting the recommendations of the Anil Kakodkar committee appointed in 2010 on increasing the autonomy of IITs.
“The committee had said that the government must neutralise subsidies on basic fees in these institutions and should invest more in research and improving infrastructure,” the officials said, insisting that the government spent up to Rs 6 lakh on every IITian.
As per HRD ministry figures, the IITs have an annual intake of 10,000 students. So, the total number of IIT students is around 40,000.
The IITs have seen an eightfold hike in fees in the last six years. The last fee hike to Rs 90,000 was effected in 2013.
Many felt the increase would prove heavy on their pockets, but said even then they will manage to put everything in place for studying in an IIT.
“We were anyway planning to raise a loan if my son got through the IIT. We had decided to mortgage a part of our ancestral property, but after the fee hike, the entire land will have to be mortgaged,” a government clerk Mukesh Bhardwaj said. His son Akshat Bhardwaj, is an IIT aspirant.
Aakash Kushwaha, an IIT-Delhi alumnus who passed out in 2012, said his fee was Rs.54,000 per year.
“I think it’s too much of a hike in one go. It won’t be affordable for a few qualified people which will eventually lead to a dilution in the quality of students,” Kushwaha told IANS.
Another IIT aspirant Nitish Sharma, who dropped a year to prepare for IIT entrance exam, also expressed his anxiety.
“I dropped one year after school to prepare for my IIT entrance exam. I am hopeful of clearing the exam. But now, I think, arranging fee will be an issue. I will try to look for a scholarship now,” Sharma told IANS.