Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) will from January begin verifying the economic status of students seeking fee waiver to prevent the misuse of a scheme aimed at helping pupils belonging to low-income families, sources said.
The move is part of a plan to review the scheme following a sharp rise in under-graduate students seeking exemption from paying tuition fee after it was increased to Rs 2 lakh from Rs 90,000 per year this April.
After the hike, revenue should have gone up but it was dropping, an IIT official said. “There are a number of general category students who have sought full or partial waiver and we have decided to get details of the school and coaching they have attended, as it will help us determine whether the income certificate produced by them is genuine,” the official said on condition of anonymity.
As disabled students and those belonging to scheduled castes and tribes are exempt from paying fee, their income certificates will not be verified. Income certificates are issued by local revenue officials.
The country’s top engineering colleges, the IITs get government funding but it barely covered maintenance costs, sources said. The institutes depended on fees to upgrade labs, hostels and other facilities.
Beginning January, IIT Delhi would also ask students seeking complete or partial waiver to fill a form giving details of the school and the coaching institutes attended by them, sources said.
It is common for aspirants of the country’s top engineering schools to join institutes that prepare them for the entrance exam that is fiercely fought. Students can spend a few weeks to a few years in these coaching institutes, which are generally expensive.
While announcing the fee hike, the human resource development ministry had exempted the students whose annual family income was below Rs 1 lakh from paying the fee. Students from families with an annual income between Rs 1 lakh and Rs 5 lakh were given a two-thirds remission.
There are 10, 500 under-graduate students in 23 IITs.
Sources said of the 860 BTech students at IIT Delhi, 301 were not paying, as they either belonged to SC/ST category or had been given a waiver on economic grounds.
“There are almost 100 students who have sought a full waiver and after asking them to fill the form, IIT Delhi will verify their certificates,” a source said.
Facing a similar situation, IIT Roorkee plans to get some of the certificates verified.
The decision to cross-check students’ claims was taken during by the IIT council, the decision-making body of the colleges, in August.
“The council noted with concern the difficulties being faced by IITs in view of the large number of exemptions given from payment of fee and the doubtful income certificates being filed by students to get exemptions given by the government,” a source quoted the council as saying.
It was also decided that depending on the outcome of verification of income certificates, the council could take a call on continuing with the scheme.