Published: 21st July 2022
IIT Bombay: Open House on July 26 to decide fate of protest against fee hike?
Students who were protesting claimed that this is the second fee hike in the last five years, as it was increased in 2017 as well
Students of the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Bombay protested on Tuesday, July 20 against what they claimed was a massive fee hike by the college administration. The students submitted an open letter to the administration that demanded a complete rollback of the hiked fees, among other demands.
The students stated, “There has been a 45 per cent increase in fees with most of the fee components being raised from 25 per cent to 50 per cent, while the Gymkhana fee alone is increased by 340 per cent,” in the letter that was also shared on social media. Students said that they have been asked to pay the hostel fund separately. “...Students have been asked to pay Hostel Amenities Fund of Rs 1,800 separately which was earlier part of Students Mess Advance whereas no change or update has been mentioned regarding its reduction. Hostel rent has increased by Rs 600 which was already increased from Rs 500 to 2,000 in 2017-18,” they said in the letter.
Students who are part of the Ambedkar Periyar Phule Study Circle (APPSC) at the University were also involved in the protest on Tuesday. A PhD student from the circle told EdexLive that while there was no official announcement of the new fee hike, a new fee structure was updated on the website around 10 to 15 days back. “Some students pointed out that a new fee structure has been uploaded on the website…we started signature campaigns as soon as we found out,” the student who wished to stay anonymous said.
Students have been worried as they were not informed about the fee hike in advance. “It has been difficult for us because we have to support our family too,” said a student who was involved in the protest but did not wish to be named. We are expected to take care of other expenses at home as well and some students are thinking of dropping out, the student said.
They stated three main demands during their protest on Tuesday, July 19. They demanded a complete rollback of the fee hike, an increase in fellowships for research scholars and more transparency in the expenses carried out from the fees paid by the students. “The University has tried to justify the price hike by saying that we are willing to pay a similar amount to foreign universities. But then the facilities should also be equal to those universities, right?” the student who was involved in the protest asked.
Additionally, students also said this was the second fee hike by the institute in the last five years. “The fee was hiked in 2017 as well and even then, students protested for around two and a half months. Only then did a partial rollback of the hike happen,” a student with the APSSC said. During those protests, the administration had assured students that any decision concerning students will be taken after involving the student representatives in the decision-making process. However, they were not consulted before hiking the fees this time, the student said.
While resisting the fee hike, few students also claimed that they were being asked to pay an exam fee although they do not have to write an exam. “PhD students don’t write exams so why should we pay exam fees?” asked a PhD student. "Our research has suffered a lot during COVID because they are not increasing fellowships. So they should be extending support instead," the student said.
Students have formed a collective named IIT Bombay Students Against Fee Hike to coordinate the protest. The collective is coordinating its activities and communication with the students through WhatsApp groups and other social media platforms.
They said that they have been informed by the Deputy Director of the institute that they are facing a fund crunch at the moment as they are not receiving enough funds from the government. They have also been informed that an open house will be conducted on July 26 to discuss the fee hike, the student said.
“But we are mobilising more students for the open house and circulating pamphlets to create awareness about the fee hike,” a student from APSSC said. They plan to continue protesting until the fee hike is rolled back.