Kerala

Space science studies to turn dearer

DoS directs IIST to review fee system, financial aid to students

Training to be a space scientist has never been easy, given the gruelling curriculum and the dedication required of young aspirants. Indications are that it could soon turn out to be tougher financially as well.

The Department of Space (DoS) wants the Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology (IIST) to review its practice of providing education practically free of cost and wants it to evolve into a ‘self-sustaining institute.’

The directive is part of a May 15 office memorandum pertaining to Guidelines for expenditure management in DoS/Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) on the subject Increasing the Revenue Generated by Autonomous Institutions.

The IIST, an autonomous institution under DoS, was established at Valiyamala here in 2007 for moulding future space scientists for ISRO.

Self-sustaining model

“The institute has established itself as a pioneering institute in the field of space science and technology. As most of the institutes in the country offering graduate/postgraduate courses recover the cost of education from the students, the institute shall review the fee system and financial assistance on its courses with the view to grow into a self-sustaining institute,” reads the memorandum.

The IIST has been directed to submit a report on this by June 30.

Assistance

With courses tailored to meet ISRO needs, the IIST offers two undergraduate courses and a dual degree programme, in addition to postgraduate and PhD programmes. It has made itself attractive to students through a system of performance-based financial assistance, funded by the DoS, and scholarships.

Undergraduate students, for instance, get full or partial refund of the semester fee (₹48,400) based on their academic performance. Under it, OBC-NCL category students are eligible for full- semester fee as ‘DoS assistanceship’ on securing a grade point average (GPA) of 7.5 or above. For SC/ST/PD categories, the GPA requirement is 6.5. For GPA between 5.5 and 6.5, the student becomes eligible for just the semester tuition fee (₹20,000).

In response to the DoS directive, the IIST has formed a committee of deans and senior faculty to look into matters related to revenue augmentation and academic programmes, according to sources.

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Printable version | May 31, 2020 10:17:03 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/space-studies-to-turn-dear/article31625219.ece

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