Paving the way for fee regulation at the national level, a government-appointed committee, headed by former Supreme Court judge BN Srikrishna, has recommended a ceiling on the tuition fee charged by all private institutions for technical courses such as MBA and engineering.
The ten-member panel has pegged the maximum (tuition and development) fee for a two-year MBA course in the range of Rs 1.57 lakh to Rs 1.71 lakh per annum, depending on the location of the private institution. The upper limit for the four-year engineering degree (BE or B.Tech) has been fixed in the range of Rs 1.44 lakh to 1.58 lakh every year. It has also suggested the maximum fee for technical courses such as B.Arch, B.Pharma, MCA and M.Tech, among others (see box).
The Justice Srikrishna committee 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. The apex court had ruled that to prevent commercialisation of technical education, the fee charged by private institutes should be decided by the state governments until a national-level fee fixation committee gives its recommendations.
AICTE Chairman Anil Sahasrabudhe confirmed that the regulatory body has received the report of the committee headed by BN Srikrishna. “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,” he told The Indian Express.
If the recommendations are accepted, all private institutions taking more than the prescribed fee limits will have to fall in line. The report makes an exception for institutions of excellence by allowing autonomous and accredited ones to charge another 10 per cent and 20 per cent additional tuition fee from the students, respectively.
AICTE officials are tight-lipped about what will happen to top institutes whose fee structure exceeds the maximum limit even after factoring in the exception made for excellence. The Xavier Labour Relations Institute (XLRI) in Jamshedpur, for instance, takes Rs 9 lakh per annum for its post graduate diploma in management, which is equivalent to a two-year MBA. The TA Pai Management Institute in Manipal or TAPMI and SP Jain Institute of Management and Research, Mumbai, charge Rs 7 lakh and Rs 4.45 lakh every year, respectively, for the same.
Here are some of the highlights of the report:
# Private institutes and colleges can charge fee under four heads – tuition, development, examination and others. Tuition fee covers expenses on human resources (faculty and non-teaching staff) and learning resources such as library books and operational costs (electricity, water, maintenance etc). Development fee is meant for future development of the institute and cannot exceed 15 per cent of tuition fee. The maximum fee recommended by Srikrishna Committee (see box) covers tuition and development heads only.
# Examination fee can be taken by institutes that are affiliated to universities. The total amount charged under the ‘Others’ head, which covers contingency fund, placement, medical, counsellor and industry participation, shall not be more than Rs 1,000 or 1 per cent of the tuition fee, whichever is higher.
# Exceptions may be created in cases of excellence. 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.
# Institutes can take higher tuition fee from those enrolled under the foreign student category, but it should be limited to a maximum of three times the prescribed limit. It has to stick to the ceiling in case of all other students.
# HRD and AICTE should set up appropriate mechanism to ensure strict adherence to fee guidelines
# The fee will be increased by just 5 per cent every year till it is reviewed. So if a student, say, pays Rs 1,000 in year 1, he or she will pay Rs 1,050 in year 2, Rs 1,102 in year 3 and 1,158 in year 4
# Government should facilitate scholarships and financial aid to offset the burden of fee on reserved category and economically weak students.