Students at IIT Bombay were given some relief on Saturday when after 15 days of protesting the fee hike, the administration reduced the Semester Mess Advance (SMA) component of the fee structure by Rs 1,800. However, they went on a relay hunger strike from Saturday, demanding a complete reversal of the fee hike.
On Sunday, IIT Bombay released a notification explaining in detail why the fee hike was necessary along with the reminder of the July 26 meeting held with students on the matter with the Deputy Director (Finance and External Affairs) making a presentation with information accountants to explain where their fees are spent and what fraction of the IIT’s expenses are covered by the fees.
The administration’s statement recalled the distribution of fees and the causes of the rising fees, including the increase in the number of students and the need for more hostels and university buildings.
The notice also said that contrary to the claims of some students, they had “not used force or involved the police in any way”.
“Police were present as a routine security measure due to the previous groups’ meeting call which involved approximately 2,200 graduate students visiting campus, but had absolutely no interaction with the protesting students,” the statement said.
IIT BOMBAY STUDENT STATEMENT
Student protest group IITB Students Against Fee Hike issued a statement against the fee hike on Saturday.
“This decision is only a correction of the abusive and unnecessary double perception. But the reduction of SMA can in no way be considered as the achievement of our objectives. Our resistance is to keep public educational institutions economically accessible to all,” he said.
The students explained that the reduction of Rs 1800 was only the correction of an earlier error in which the administration wrongly charged the same fee twice.
The students said the error that hostel amenities fees were listed under both SMA and semester fees was also pointed out at the July 26 meeting.
The students, while planning their hunger strike, said they hoped for a positive response from the administration of IIT Bombay in two days.
FRESH HIKE IN IIT BOMBAY
Free Masters and PhD structures at IIT Bombay have seen a 45% fee hike from the fall semester and students are complaining that it has been a burden after the Covid-19 pandemic.
Students said the fees committee recommended a 5% annual fee increase as well as a 15% fee increase in 2020. While the total fee increase is expected to be 25% now, that was much more than that.
Except for tuition fees at IIT Bombay, all other fee items have undergone an increase, raising the fees from Rs 16,500 to Rs 23,950, the students said.
New admissions are also experiencing rising tuition fees. For doctoral students, tuition fees have increased from Rs 2,500 to Rs 5,000, while for master’s students, they have increased from Rs 2,500 to Rs 25,000, the students said.
FINAL STATEMENT FROM THE IIT BOMBAY ADMINISTRATION
The latest notification from the administration of IIT Bombay explained that the majority of funding for IIT Bombay comes from the government.
He said that it was expected that the accommodation costs would be comparable to the hostel’s overall expenses, but in reality, that was not enough to cover the expenses.
“And that’s not even counting the capital cost of building hostels,” the statement said.
“The increase in accommodation costs is essential to cover real expenses, allowing our other sources of income to be used to provide better academic facilities for all our students and to take out the loans we badly need to expand. our infrastructure, rather than subsidizing the running costs of hostels,” the statement said, adding that the surge in student numbers had necessitated more hostels and university buildings.
FEE HIKE EXPLAINED BY IIT BOMBAY ADMINISTRATION
“It can be noted that the total amount students pay for a hostel stay was around Rs 2000 per month before, which has now risen to around Rs 2700 per month. This includes not only room rent, electricity and water costs, but also medical costs. It can also be compared to the PhD stipend of between Rs 31,000 and 34,000 per month and the MTech stipend of Rs 12,400 per month,” explained the official statement from the administration of IIT Bombay.
“Tuition fees for current PhD students are Rs 2,500 per semester and Rs 5,000 per semester for new students, while for new MTech students, it has increased to Rs 5,000 per semester (after partial waiver of tuition fees) at Rs 30,000 per semester. You can see that even these increased fees (which do not impact current students) are very minimal,” he said.
SUPPORT FOR ECONOMICALLY DISADVANTAGED STUDENTS
The administration of IIT Bombay said in its statement that every needy student receives financial support for a laptop and data connection. With the support of alumni at the start of the pandemic.
“Students who are in economic difficulty (including those whose stipends are delayed by sponsoring agencies) will have a way to request and obtain a fee deferral. IIT will work on scholarships for Masters students (MTech, etc.) with financial difficulties, similar to the scholarships for UG students,” the statement said.
He added that students were allowed to pay the semester advance in two installments to avoid a heavy load at the start of the semester.
The statement said four student members of the elected student body have been added as permanent guests to the fees committee.
“It has been decided to reduce the amount of the hostel development fund from the semester mess advance paid to hostels,” he said.
“While no one likes to pay more than they were previously charged, it is also imperative that an institute continues to adjust its rates accordingly to stay alive and grow, to serve today’s students. today and tomorrow as well,” the statement said.
“The majority of our students understand the need and realize that the government cannot continue to subsidize them beyond a certain point. IIT Bombay is trying to convince the few remaining students to stop the unrest by talking to them,” he said.
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