Centre fixes fee slabs for private technical institutes after panel report
The education ministry has accepted an expert panel report that recommended price bands for private technical and management institutions
New Delhi: The cost of technical and management education at privately run institutions in India will now have to be within a price band specified by an expert panel, the recommendations of which has been accepted by the education ministry, officials said on Tuesday.
The revision comes more than six years after the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) put a cap on the maximum fee private technical institutes could charge students following the recommendations of a committee headed by former Supreme Court judge BN Srikrishna. So far, there was no minimum fee limit.
The national fee committee has now fixed a minimum and maximum fee limit for various courses. For diploma courses, the minimum fee cannot be below ₹67,900 a year, while the maximum has been capped at an annual ₹1,64,700, the panel recommended in its report, a copy of which has been reviewed by HT,
For undergraduate courses, the minimum and maximum annual charges have been fixed at ₹79,600 and ₹1,89,800, respectively. Similarly, postgraduate courses will cost between ₹1,41,200 and ₹3,04,000 a year. For management courses, the band will have to be between an annual ₹85,000 and ₹1,95,200.
The price bands become effective from the upcoming academic session for the next five years. “The prescribed fees will be applicable in the year of admission, and there will be a 5% increase in fees every following year of programme,” the report said.
“We have written to all the principal secretaries of technical education of all states and union territories, and their fee regulatory committees, informing them about the committee’s recommendations and asked them to adopt it,” AICTE chairperson Anil Dattatraya Sahasrabudhe told HT.
“We will also be submitting an affidavit in the Delhi High Court, where a case is going on regarding the issue, and inform the court that we have finalized the minimum fee limit,” he added.
Some colleges and associations had moved court, demanding a minimum fee threshold.
The Srikrishna committee has recommended that the AICTE makes the fee norms applicable to all institutes that come under its purview. There are over 6,500 private technical institutions affiliated to the AICTE. The new fee structures will not be applicable for IITs and IIMs.
In its April 2015 report, the committee had fixed the maximum fee for a two-year MBA course at ₹1.57 lakh to ₹1.71 lakh per annum. For a four-year engineering degree, the maximum fee was fixed at ₹1.44 lakh to ₹1.58 lakh annually.
However, there was no mention of a minimum fee in the 2015 report, due to which several states, including Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, had put a floor price at ₹30,000 to ₹40,000 a year for private colleges.
The committee was asked to revisit the norms in 2020, and submitted its report in August 2021. The report was then sent to all states, seeking comments and suggestions. In March, it was finally sent to the federal education ministry for approval.
“No institute will be able to offer quality education at lower costs than the prescribed fees, unless it can finance the deficit through other resources without compromising standards and quality of education,” the report said. “Institutes can be allowed to do so with complete disclosure to the state fee regulator.”
“The minimum fees thus provide for the compensation for the minimum expenditure that an institute will have to make to maintain the minimum level of infrastructure and human resources,” it said.
At the same time, the committee recommended that the government should arrange for educational loans at a concessional rate of interest, and suggested scholarships for needy and meritorious students. The committee also recommended that fees applied to all students in a class shall be the same, and no differential fee structure would be allowed, except for foreign nationals and non-resident Indians.
Some states had raised concerns over the high fee structure set for planning, design, and applied arts and crafts programmes. Responding to that, the committee in its report said that these programmes require higher faculty to students ratio.
“Since these programmes require more inputs from professionals experienced in the field, provision may be made for lesser faculty student ratio and a higher percentage of adjunct faculty,” the report said. “Further, if felt essential, AICTE may consult experts in the specific fields to relook into the minimum norms and standards indicated for these programmes.”