Graduation in management is a qualification all job seekers aspire for. And pursuing this course in IIMs is a prestige that all aspirants chase and a seat in the top three is what only the privileged few realise. This comes at a cost of a good few lakhs too. 

Most of the IIMs had announced a fee hike earlier this year. 

Which institutes have risen their fees?

IIM Bangalore, ranked number two in India, has decided to get its fees on par with IIM Ahmedabad. Graduation at IIM-B will now cost 23 lakhs, which is a hike of 2 lakhs. The increase in fees, according to their director is based on hiked operational costs, besides the annual package offered to their students. 

IIM B is willing to consider providing monetary assistance through scholarships and other means for deserving students who do not have the means to meet the fees. The B school claims to have risen its fees after a gap of two years.  

Doing the flagship course at IIM Lucknow will now cost the student 19 lakhs, which is a gargantuan hike of 5 lakhs!

According to Mr. Vikas Srivastava, chairperson, corporate communications and media relations, IIM Lucknow had trimmed its fees by ten percent seven years back (brought the fees down from 12 lakhs to 10.8 lakhs) and the fees remained constant until 2016 when it charged 14 lakhs. This is the next fee hike at IIM Lucknow after four years. 

What is the scene at the new IIMs?

IIM Rohtak will be charging 15.2 lakhs. Last year, the fees here were 13.8 lakhs.

IIM Kozhikode has not made any announcements of a hike on fees so far.

The umbrella of institutes under the Indian Institute of Management has the autonomy to rectify and amend its fees without having to refer to the government for approval. 

The minimum cost of taking a graduation in a new IIM, which includes IIM-Jammu, is 10 lakhs.

How do the students react to this? 

Students are not pleased with the hike in fees. Owing to the global pandemic caused by the novel corona virus, companies struggle to meet salaries as markets have gone downhill, and most businesses have hit rock bottom.

Few recruiters have honoured their commitments and several companies have rolled back their job offers, citing the pandemic.  Many families are going through an economic drain as some have lost their jobs, while others have taken a pay cut.

In this situation, meeting the high fees at IIMs becomes a burden for most parents. Some of them feel that the institutes will be saving on the power required for using the classrooms, and ought to pass on the benefit to students. 

Is the hike in fees justified?

The institutes had begun operating online lectures for the one-year programme since May this year. For the two-year programme, most institutes will commence classes for the second years this month and usher in the freshers next month.

In order to cope with classes going online, the B schools had to make structural changes for the handling of virtual classes. 

There has been an increase in infrastructural costs, for instance, installing of web-cams, connectivity, other hardware and software for video and web-based classes.

Everything from content creation to delivering lectures changes in the virtual model. Preparing the grounds for a sound framework calls for the best of software in arranging for unblemished handling of classes, and distance appraisals.

As all the colleges continue paying salaries to the faculty and other staff, they do not have many avenues for saving money on operational costs. Furthermore, the faculty and staff might have upskilled themselves for virtual lectures and the cost of this would have been borne by the institution in full or part.  

What then is the final word?

The B schools insist on beginning the face-to-face mode as early as possible, depending on the Ministry of HRD guidelines. This, they feel, is crucial to the overall development of the students’ learning, and particularly for developing their networking skills. 

They expect to start regular classroom sessions with students returning to colleges in the near future.


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