IIT Bombay students protest fee hike for postgraduate, PhD courses

About 100 students from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Bombay staged a spontaneous sit-in protest at the main building on Tuesday after they were allegedly not allowed to meet the principal to present an open letter against the fee increase for postgraduate and doctoral courses. . The sit-in lasted about an hour before a few authorities came to receive the letter and assured the students that they would consider the demands.

According to the information provided by students at the major Institute of Technology in Powai area in Mumbai, the fees for both M Tech and PhD courses have increased by 45 per cent in the recently announced fee prospectus for the fall semester.

The disintegration of the fee structure for current master’s and doctoral students shows a significant increase under all chairs, except for tuition fees. This includes hostel fee, registration fee, medical fee, examination fee, electricity and water fee, hostel fee, dormitory, student accident insurance fund, student charitable fee, gym fee etc, taking the total fee from Rs 16,500 to Rs 23,950, said one of the students.

The student added that the new admission is the hardest hit. “Their fee hike is huge with an exorbitant jump in tuition fees as well. For Ph.D., the tuition fee for new batches has been increased to Rs 5,000 from Rs 2,500. While for Masters students, it has been increased to Rs 25,000 from Rs 2,500,” the student said.

The open letter submitted to the administration, signed by about 1,000 students, demands the full reversal of the fee increase. It also highlights that the rise is placing an additional financial burden on students who are already suffering from the effects of inflation and the after-effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. The students also mentioned their dissatisfaction with the way the fees were raised as their representatives were allegedly not consulted.

The students drafted a group called IIT Bombay Students Against High Fee to coordinate the protest. Other demands made by the group are an extension of the deadline for payment of fees, an increase in scholarships for researchers and transparency in the expenses incurred from the fees paid by students. The group appealed to the students not to pay the fees until a decision is reached on reversing the fee increase.

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