Published: 30th December 2022
Fee hike justified due to rising costs and expenses, says NLU Delhi Vice-Chancellor
NLU Delhi is a public institution. It has recently announced a fee hike from Rs 1,86,000 to Rs 3,20,000. Students of the institution have written to the administration demanding a rollback
Responding to the controversy around the recently announced fee hike, the National Law University (NLU) of Delhi has said that the fee hike of almost 100% was "justified".
The Vice-Chancellor in charge, Prof Harpreet Kaur, told EdexLive that approvals were taken from the university's bodies before the fee hike was introduced. NLU Delhi, which conducts the All India Law Entrance Test (AILET) for admissions into its undergraduate (UG), postgraduate (PG) and doctorate (PhD) level law courses, revealed the particulars of the fee hike along with the notification for the exam this year.
As per the statement released by the varsity, the tuition fee has been increased from Rs 85,000 to Rs 1,35,000 for the batch of 2023. Inclusive of all other expenses, the overall fee has been hiked from Rs 1,86,000 to Rs 3,20,000, the VC said. Prior to this fee hike, NLU Delhi, which is a public institution, was one of the least expensive law institutes in the country. Now, it is the most expensive NLU in the country, charting even higher than the National Law School of India University (NLSIU) in Bengaluru, which trumped NLU Delhi to grab the top spot in the Law school category in the National Institute Ranking Framework (NIRF) 2022.
Commenting on the reasoning behind the fee hike, Prof Kaur said, "The university has been charging a very low fee in comparison to top NLUs. In our opinion, this increase is justified in light of increased costs and expenses over the last decade."
When asked how the university plans on ensuring that legal education remains accessible to all sections of the society given an almost 100% hike in fee for NLU Delhi, the VC said, "NLU Delhi remains committed to support students from weaker sections of the society through various scholarships schemes offered by different Ministries and Government of NCT of Delhi in which the university is listed as a top-class institution." The VC also claimed that the university has not let "any student leave the course midway due to financial constraints".
However, students of the varsity, who have written to the administration enquiring about the fee hike, and demanding a roll-back, claim that these scholarships are not enough to ensure that students from the OBC and EWS categories continue being able to afford to study in NLU Delhi. "The new fee is a little less than half their annual family income. The various scholarship programmes available are of no help since most of them provide for an income cap of Rs 2 to 4 lakh, beyond which, the candidate becomes ineligible to avail of them. Therefore, such students are left with no support and will not be able to study at NLU Delhi," the students wrote.
Students are also concerned that the hike might encourage more students to opt for student loans in order to afford the fee. This could lead them to take up better paying jobs in corporate law after their graduation instead of "socially-conscious" options such as legal aid, litigation or even academia. "The most worrying trend recently in the institute, especially with the current administration, has been to orient law students towards becoming corporate lawyers instead of ensuring interdisciplinary education for socially-conscious lawyers," an NLU Delhi student told EdexLive on the condition of anonymity.