Tuesday, June 22, 2010

IITs move to hike fee, adopt IIM fee strategy

NEW DELHI : Taking a cue from the Indian Institutes of Management, the IIT bosses are drawing a cautious plan to gradually equate their fee structure with that of the IIMs.

According to sources the exercise is to make the Indian Institutes Technology self-reliant and to cut dependence on state subsidy, which the IIT dons say, would gradually taper off in the coming years.

A panel set up by the IIT Council — the apex decision making body — headed by atomic energy chief Anil Kakodkar has been asked to draft the roadmap for gradual fee hikes, the sources said.

Drafting the fee hike roadmap for the IITs is one of the components of the mandate of the Kakodkar panel set up at the Council meeting on October 19. The Kakodkar panel has been asked to submit its report in six months.

The IIT Council, which met here on October 19, discussed the fee-hike possibility in view of the government starting a loan scheme with subsidised interest rate to help poor students in higher studies, sources said. The Kakodkar panel will also suggest how the IITs should increase the number of scholarships, fellowships and other financial aid to ensure that deserving but economically weak students do not suffer from the hike, sources said.

The new fee-hike strategy aims at following the IIM practice of a gradual but regular fee hike supported by an increase in financial assistance for those students who cannot afford the new fee structure.

“The strategy of gradual fee hikes will allow us, for the first time, an opportunity to hike fees commensurate with rising costs,” an IIT director said.

The IITs had a fixed tuition fee of Rs 25,000 per annum for undergraduate and postgraduate science students for 10 years before the fees were doubled last year — to Rs 50,000 a year. But even with the new fee structure, the IITs earn only Rs 2 lakh for four years of undergraduate teaching, or Rs 1 lakh for two years of the masters in science programme from each student.

The top IIMs — which typically raise their fees each year — in contrast earn around 10 times as much through tuition fees from each student over comparable course lengths.

IIM Ahmedabad, for instance raised the fees for its two-year postgraduate diploma in management to Rs 12.5 lakh this year, from Rs 11.5 lakh last year.

The IIMs in Bangalore and Calcutta charge Rs 9.5 lakh and Rs 9 lakh for their two year postgraduate diploma courses respectively.

The IITs have, over the years, frequently complained about an increasing financial deficit — the gap between funds allocated to them by the government on one hand and their expenditure on the other.

The institutes have met the deficit by dipping into reserve funds drawn from alumni donations and money earned through consultancy projects with industry. But these funds, the IITs have argued, are dwindling.

The IITs argue that their students — like those at the IIMs — earn starting salaries adequate to allow them to pay back any education loan within a few years.


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