Research scholars at IIT-Madras will soon have more than just their theses to worry about. Starting this June, they will have to fork out double the usual amount for their academic fees.

Nearly 2,500 M.S. students and PhD scholars at the institute will have to pay Rs. 8,200 as academic fees, up from Rs. 4,100 they paid last year.

In all, each research scholar will have to pay around Rs. 27,000 for her course, instead of Rs. 22,000

The increase has been quite steep, say students.

“The academic fee has been doubled. The authorities have also increased gymkhana fees that include auditorium and sports facilities from Rs. 100 to Rs 1,000. Even the hostel rent has gone up from Rs. 550 to Rs. 2,250 a semester,” said an M.S. student.

“They could have increased the fee gradually, instead of this sudden hike,” he added.

Students say the fee hike was not on the Senate meeting agenda, and not many of them were aware of the proposal being floated. “As far as M.S. students are concerned, they don’t even have classes after the first year. They don’t have to write exams, they just pursue their theses and leave the institution once they finish it. What is the point of charging them extra fees for facilities they don’t use?” asked another student.

It was only a few months ago that all IITs hiked fees for undergraduate students by 80 per cent — from Rs. 50,000 a year to Rs. 90,000.

Dean Prof. L.S. Ganesh, said the decision to hike the fees was taken at a meeting of deans held at IIT–Roorkee recently. The hike was primarily to standardise fees across all IITs, and student bodies were consulted before the decision was taken. The hikes for hostel and gymkhana fees were decided by the IIT council, the participatory body of all IITs, he said.

“The fee has not been increased in over 10 years. Even now, the rates are much lower than those charged at other colleges,” Prof. Ganesh said.

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