Lack of government funds reason for fee hike, says Rajendra Singh of IIT-Kgp

The Government’s decision to raise the annual fee, from Rs 90,000 to Rs 2 lakh, for  undergraduate programmes at the  IITs, means that students enrolling themselves in the current academic session will bear the brunt of  the 122% hike. The proposal for the hike was recommended by the Standing Committee of IIT Council, and it was approved by the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) on April 7, 2016. However, the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe, differently-abled, and those with annual family income of up to Rs 1 lakh are eligible for a full fee waiver, and those with family incomes less than Rs 5 lakh, for two-thirds fee exemption.

To ease the burden of students, the Government will offer interest-free loans to IITians under the Vidya Lakshmi Scheme.

PaGaLGuY spoke to Prof Rajendra Singh, Dean of Undergraduate Studies, IIT Kharagpur, to know exactly why the  steep fee hike was announced. Prof Singh also explained the new loan process. Below are excerpts of the telephonic interview:

What is the cause of the recent hike?

The students’ fee contributes to the revenue kitty of IITs. Earlier, we used to get a lot of funding from MHRD. Over the years, there has been a sharp reduction in Government funds. The recent fee hike will not only address the paucity of funds but also increase our financial autonomy and reduce dependence on the government to meet recurring costs. The last hike happened in 2014 when the fee was raised from Rs 50,000 to Rs 90,000. It is not about improving the services, but this hike will bridge the gaps created by the lack of funds.

What is the procedure for a student to avail an interest-free loan under the Vidya Lakshmi Scheme?

Vidya Lakshmi Scheme is a Government-run Student Financial Aid Authority to administer and monitor scholarship as well educational loan schemes to the students in need. To avail the education loan, a student needs to fill an online form to apply for the loan at multiple banks. The banks will decide to sanction the loan on a case-to-case basis. The institutes, banks, and students will need to do some more work to streamline this process. The benefit of this scheme is that the government will pay the interest to the banks on behalf of the students. 

Sometimes banks deny an education loan without collateral. Will it impact students joining IITs this year onwards?

The banks don’t require collaterals for an education loan up to Rs 4 lakh. Now, the loan amount will go up to minimum Rs 8 lakh. We will work on these issues in the next two-three months and iron out the teething troubles.

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