Friday, February 29, 2008

Back to School: US or India?

In a recent move, IIM Calcutta and Ahmedabad have hiked their fee for the two-year postgraduate management programme (PGP) by Rs. one lakh, reports the Business Standard. This raises fees to Rs. three lakh per student this year with a proposed increase to Rs. four lakh per student from 2009, and there are plans to further increase fee structures. With this change, the two schools are likely to have sparked off a trend among the other premier business schools of their fraternity, with several management aspirants in the country required to shell out the additional amount. This raises the concern that quality education in our country could become a privelege only of the affluent. This, in a system that already possesses absurd competition for admission. Seventy five percent of the seats are of general category, where almost 195,000 students compete for less than 1200 seats through the CAT based open competition method. IIM Ahmedabad is cited as a business school that is possibly one of most difficult to get into in the world and IIM Bangalore has an applicant acceptance to its postgraduate programme of as low as 0.2%.

This latest fee hike comes at a time when many Ivy League colleges in the US have recently increased their financial aid to middle class families. For example, Brown University announced that families earning less than $60,000 annually would have to contribute nothing towards a Brown education whereas families of incomes lesser than $100,000 would receive aid packages, entirely free of loans. And families earning more than $100,000 would receive aid in the form of loans but at highly reduced amounts. Brown has followed in the steps of Stanford that announced its drive to step up financial aid to middle class families last week, as did Harvard and Yale last year. This initiative takes shape despite these institutions having endowment funds of more than $1 billion each.

As of 2007, US embassies recorded an all time high of over 80,000 students leaving Indian shores to US for higher studies. It makes one wonder about the future of India with a chunk of the country’s brains leaving to contribute in another. But then again, when a world-class education is available for much less, or at least with much more aid to make it possible, along with hassle free procedures, can you blame those who leave? In view of these events, perhaps the IIMs should review their move. It might be difficult to retain a reputation of being a group of some of the best business schools in the world when a large number of prospective students find academic acceptance and financial assistance elsewhere.

1 comment:

KVSSNrao said...

Very few people have protested hike in the fee by IIMs.

You are a rare person. But your evidence is very very appropriate.

Keep it up.

I mentioned your post in Orkut India community topic on IIM Fee