IIM students ok with fee hike as banks up loans

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IIM students ok with fee hike as banks up loans

It’s no less than a thriller. The quantum of fee hike, nearly 200%, effected by EM-A, the country’s premier B-School for its flagship post-graduate programme in management (PGPM) has stunned the B-school fraternity.

There is also a mystery element about the way IIM-A went about the exercise, perceived as sensitive yet routine. The students, however, are not complaining as the institute has relaxed the criteria for institutional grants and tied up with banks to facilitate 100% finance.

The DM-A decision comes in the face of stiff opposition from the HRD ministry, which has adopted a tough stand against the earlier fee hike proposals. “At the February 21 directors’ meet, we were informed by IIMs — Ahmedabad and Bangalore — about their decision to hike fee even before we could discuss it.

The rationale behind the hike was not discussed, but the DM-A presented the cost-per-student figure quoted by the finance committee to justify the move,” said DLM-Lucknow director Dr Devi Singh.

While DM-Lucknow and IIM-Calcutta raised their fees from Rs.2 lakh to Rs 2.5 lakh, IIM-B raised its fees from Rs 2.5 lakh to Rs 4 lakh and IIM-A effected’the steepest ever hike, up from Rs.2 lakh to Rs.5.5 lakh for the first year and Rs.6 lakh for the second year. The move might have a trigger effect on other B schools.

However, the students are not much bothered by the fee hike as almost 99% students who seek financial assistance for their education get loans from banks. The IIM-A itself grants financial aid to students from the weaker sections. A few banks including State Bank of India, Allahabad Bank and India Bank extend loans to the students on the campus.

Says SBI chief general manager HC Pattanaik:”We have special schemes for I1T and IIMs wherein no mortgages are required and 100% loans are offered.

Now, that the fees have been hiked, we will raise the loan amount accordingly.”While affordability is not an issue, what raised many eyebrows was the way fee hikes were effected. In a major departure from the earlier practice, the IIM-A did not put the issue on the agenda of the board of governing council and no government nominee was present for the meeting that decided on the latest fee hike.

In the meeting held in December 2007, the IIM-A board was unanimous in hiking the fee to Rs.3 lakh per annum. However, the decision was set aside in the very next meeting.

When contacted, IIM-A director Samir Barua refused to comment saying, “I don’t want to talk on the fee hike issue at the moment”. A questionnaire faxed to IIM-A chairman Vijaypat Singhania remained unanswered. HRD secretary RP Agarwal said, “the minister has already given a comment. I have nothing to say beyond that”.

HRD minister Arjun Singh on Sunday merely said that the ministry would look into the IIM fee hikes in a meeting of IIM directors.

Last year, IIM-A asked an agency to calculate the annual cost-per-student to ascertain the fee. The agency worked out the cost at Rs.3.93 lakh per student and accordingly, a report was submitted in November 2007. The report was taken as a reference for finalising the new fee structure for 2008-09. ashwin.walunjkar@timesgroup.com

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