College is expensive. How outrageous are the costs of college education today? College costs have risen much faster than average inflation for decades so this isn’t a short-term phenomenon. College costs are soaring, seemingly all on their own. To regulate the fee structure of all the private institutions and to make all the private institutions taking more than the prescribed fee fall in line, Government panel suggests cap on fee for MBA and engineering courses in private institutes.
In a recent recommendation by a government-appointed committee headed by former Supreme Court Judge BN Srikrishna, a ceiling has been set on the tuition fee charged by all private institutions for courses such as MBA and engineering so as to regulate the fee structure at national level. The ten-member panel committee headed by Justice Srikrishna was set up by the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) to honour the Supreme Court’s direction in the TMA Pai Foundation case.
As per the new suggestions, the maximum tuition and development fee for a two-year MBA course should range from Rs 1.57 lakh to Rs 1.71 lakh per annum, depending on the location of the private institution. While for four-year engineering degree, it should range from Rs 1.44 lakh to 1.58 lakh every year. Even the maximum fees to be charged for other technical courses such as B.Arch, B.Pharma, MCA and M.Tech have also been decided.
The report has been quite liberal for institutions of excellence as it has permitted autonomous and accredited ones to charge another 10 per cent and 20 per cent additional tuition fee from the students, respectively. Private institutions and colleges which have accreditation for at least two-thirds of their courses can charge an additional 20 per cent of the prescribed tuition fee. Autonomous institutes and colleges can charge 10 per cent additional tuition fee. All the private institutions have been given the freedom to charge higher tuition fee from those enrolled under the foreign student category. The fee will be increased by just 5 per cent every year till it is reviewed.
As per the report private institutes and colleges are required to charge fee under four heads – tuition, development, examination and others. The total amount charged under the ‘Others’ head shall not be more than Rs 1,000 or 1 per cent of the tuition fee, whichever is higher. Examination fee can be taken by institutes that are affiliated to universities. Further Government should offer scholarships and financial aid to offset the burden of fee on reserved category and economically weak students.
Anil Sahasrabudhe, AICTE Chairman while confirming that the regulatory body has received the report of the committee headed by BN Srikrishna said, “We have submitted the whole report to the HRD Ministry and it is under consideration. They may consult experts and stakeholders to get their views on the suggestions.” However the AICTE officials refused to comment over what will happen to top institutes whose fee structure exceeds the maximum limit even after factoring in the exception made for excellence.