Suggestions for Fee Committees

In 2005, the World Bank published a report on India and the knowledge economy.  The thrust of the World Bank report is on education’s role as enabler of the knowledge economy and the knowledge economy requirement of new set of skills and competencies.

The key to the success of knowledge economy lies in the quality and motivation of the human resources that Institution of higher learning employs along with the infrastructure it operates with and the milieu it functions under.  Quality of human resource is function of emoluments that is offered to the faculty, infrastructure facilities, institutional flexibility and maintenance of academic and training standards.  All this require raising of financial resources.  A trust/society under whose guidance the institution function is non-profit organizations but has to be self sustaining.  The income for self sustaining comes from students’ fees, consultancies and Research output.  To make consultancies and Research output viable one has to first build brand name and Image that requires few years of functioning.  At the start the student fee is the only resource.

The Indian policy is expressed by the HRD Ministry:

“The revised offer made by India at the GATS was to partially open up higher education sector under the condition that Higher education Institutions can only charge fees as fixed by an appropriate authority and that such fees do not amount to charging capitation fee or lead to profiteering.  The provision of the Higher education services would also be subject to regulations already in place or to be prescribed by an appropriate regulatory authority (MHRD-2006-07)”.

This is hardly welcoming policies to attract the World’s best universities, especially when so many countries are vying for their attention.  The answer is to fix fees that are realistic and command growth of the Institute.  No doubt underprivileged section of the society must be taken care through freeships, scholarships or assistance to them. In order to reduce the burden of such assistance on the Institute and not to hamper their growth, elite students have to pay part of this share.         


a)     Emoluments to the faculty in the ratio of teachers to students 1:15, maintaining the hierarchy of teachers, i.e. Professor/Dean, Assistant Professors and lecturers as per the recommendation of AICTE.  The faculty strength also must take care of future planning, research and consultancy.  Revision of pay scale by the Sixth Pay Commission must be considered.  The costs must be covered through fees.

b)     In order to compete with the world Institutions of higher learning as we are part of Washington accord and WTO, the Indian Institutions have to build infrastructures, faculty and facilities so as to get accreditation by the renowned bodies.  Development of Research Inputs, faculty development for the purpose requires additional cost.  That is required to be covered through fees.       

c)      Institutes require financial Inputs not only for day to day running and development of initial infrastructure and facilities but require upgrading them as per the latest technologies, in order to make the Institute of the International quality pace with the latest academic knowledge and technologies all this add to the cost.  This development cost must form part of the fee. 

d)     The cost of the faculty development programmes to improve the quality and deputing the faculty to improve their qualification must be catered in the fee structure.

e)     Underprivileged section of the society must be assisted and encourage to enroll for higher education.  This burden is to be taken up by the more fortunate brethren so that scholarships and freeship can be sustained.

f)        In order to take care of (e) it is suggested that two tier fee structure to be designed.  One for economically weaker but meritorious students, i.e. 25-30% and higher fee for the remaining 70-75% students so that social requirements are also met without hampering the growth.

g)     Motivation and sharpening of knowledge is must for higher education.  It is necessary to organize lectures by eminent faculty from academics, Industries and research Institutes. Visits to industries, Knowledge parks are must for upgrading the knowledge.  This cost is to be considered within the fee.

h)      Internet facilities, i.e. WI-FI/LAN/WAN, training equipments/updating the library, adding the Research facilities etc., enhance the cost.  This has to be considered while deciding the fee.

i)        Maintenance cost of electricity, water treatment plants, sewage disposal  plants, communications, AC, sports & culture, health care and provision of comfortable living facilities, i.e. shopping centres  etc. cost also to be considered with fee.

These are few points that need to be considered.  An example of IITs, NITs and good universities are to be taken up before fixing the fee.  The fee being charged from each student and total aid being given by the Government and grant being obtained from UGC and other Government agencies, Alumni’s aid thus is today significant, must also be added and total must be divided by the students’ strength studying in the Institute and per student cost incurred by the institute to be worked out.  Initial grant giving by the Govt. including the land cost must also be worked out and this may be considered as initial loan and interest on this loan to be added while working out the cost per student that may be the realistic fee.

It is for the consideration of the fee committee that social responsibility should not hamper the growth of higher education. One must take care of social responsibility but those who can afford to pay must take care of the cost. 

A viable fee structure is must if good higher education is to be sustained otherwise unethical practices of donations, underpayment to faculty, charging of extra fee under some other heads will rule the higher education and in this way honest and lover of education will be eliminated by the unethical profit makers.

Social responsibility will be better met by two tier fee structure and when growth with dignity take place, society is benefited much more as harmony will prevail.  Growth is must for sustaining higher education.