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IIT Bombay students protest fee hike for postgraduate, PhD courses

IIT Bombay: The Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Bombay’s approximately 100 students spontaneously staged a sit-in protest at the institute’s main building on Tuesday after they were allegedly denied the opportunity to meet with the director to deliver an open letter protesting an increase in the cost of postgraduate and PhD programmes. Before some of the authorities arrived to pick up the letter and tell the students that they would look into their demands, the sit-in protest lasted for about an hour.

Students at the top technological college in Mumbai’s Powai neighbourhood claim that the newly released fee circular for the upcoming fall semester hiked the costs for both M Tech and PhD programmes by 45%.

“All but the tuition fees have seen large increases in the fee structure for current master’s and PhD students. The overall prices range from Rs 16,500 to Rs 23,950 and include dormitory fees, registration fees, medical fees, examination fees, electricity and water charges, hostel and mess establishment fees, student accident insurance fund, student charitable fee, and gymkhana fees, among others, said a student.

The student said, “New admissions are the hardest hit.” “Their fee increase is significant, and tuition costs have skyrocketed as well. The tuition for incoming batches of PhD students has gone up from Rs 2,500 to Rs 5,000. While it has been raised from Rs 2,500 to Rs 25,000 for master’s students, the student added.

Around 1,000 students signed an open letter to the administration that requests a total reversal of the fee increase. It also emphasises how the increase places an additional financial burden on students who are already struggling to pay their bills due to inflation and the Covid-19 pandemic’s aftereffects. The students also expressed dissatisfaction with how the fee increase was announced, claiming that their representatives were not consulted.

To organise the protest, the students formed a group called “IIT Bombay Students Against Fee Hike.” Other proposals made by the group include extending the deadline for price payment, increasing grants for research scholars, and being transparent about the costs incurred with student fee money. The group urged the students to postpone paying the fees until a decision was made about the fee hike’s rollback.

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