The Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) decided increasing their fees by 10% each year till 2019. But these colleges will still remain far less expensive than private institutes or universities abroad offering similar degrees.
The hike will be only for students taking admission this year. These freshers will have to pay Rs 27,500 for each of the two semesters in the session beginning 2017.
The latest change is a back-to-back move after fees at the seven IISERs, the country’s premier science education institutes, were hiked from about Rs 15,000 a semester to Rs 25,000 last year.
The move reflects the past two years’ trend at top government-funded engineering and science colleges such as the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) and the National Institute of Technology (NIT). The hike ranged from 60% to 120%, but with safeguards for poor students and those within the government’s reservation policy.
A May 26 meeting of the NIT and Science Education and Research (NITSER) council, chaired by human resource development minister Prakash Javadekar, decided the 10% hike in IISER fees for three consecutive years.
“It was noted that the fees in IISERs are very low at present and there was need to progressively increase the fees,” reads the minutes of the meeting.
Abhilash Swant, a student of IISER Pune who graduated in May, agreed that the institute has to change its fee structure as it provides modern laboratories and quality faculty. “Even after the hike, the fee will still be manageable. Though an increase of 10% every year might be an issue,” he said.
However, students affairs council of IISER Kolkata has demanded a rollback. “Since scholarship has been limited to very few students from 2016 onwards and many students coming to IISERs for pursuing BS-MS in Basic Science belongs to lower class or middle class, current fee hike should be reviewed and 100% tuition fee wavier should be provided to students belonging to lower income group as it is being provided in IITs and NITs already,” they said in a statement issued by them.
The NITs, which charge Rs 1.25 lakh a year, proposed a fee hike this year. But the council put the proposal for review.
IITs increased their tuition fee last year from Rs 9,000 to Rs 2 lakh. But the government gave full exemption to students with disabilities, from scheduled castes and tribes, and those from families that earn below Rs 1 lakh a year.
Education experts said a fee hike can augment resources as institutes need money to build and maintain infrastructure.
According to Pradipta Banerji, professor at IIT Bombay, a small percentage of students will pay the full fee because of the slew of exemptions. “So, technically, the revenue is not really going up.”
Dheeraj Sanghi, dean of academic affairs and external relations at the New Delhi-based Indraprastha Institute of Information Technology, said a fee hike remains a healthy practice so long as there is a mechanism to protect poor students.
“Also, a number of IITs had raised the issue that more students were opting for IISERs as they were charging much less … so they were losing meritorious students,” he said.