Karnataka approves 10% fee hike for government, COMED-K quota seats in private engineering colleges for 2024-25

The fee hike is for the professional courses — engineering and architecture — in private unaided technical institutions across Karnataka.

ByMahesh M Goudar

Published Jun 18, 2024 | 8:00 AM Updated Jun 18, 2024 | 8:00 AM

A day after the exam, UGC NET cancelled

Following the hike in sales tax of fuel, the Karnataka government has now given a nod to hiking the fees of professional courses for the berths reserved for the government and Consortium of Medical, Engineering and Dental Colleges of Karnataka (COMED-K) quotas in private unaided technical education institutions by 10 percent for the academic year 2024-25.

The fee hike — for the professional courses, ie, engineering and architecture, in private unaided technical institutions — is based on the demand by the Union of Private Educational Institutions (UPEI).

There are 245 colleges offering professional courses — including engineering and architecture — in Karnataka.

Of them, 153 are private unaided engineering colleges and 37 are private architecture colleges.

The fees for professional courses in government and aided private colleges will not be affected by this hike.

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The decision’s impact

In the private unaided colleges, 45 percent of the seats are reserved under the government quota, 30 percent for the COMED-K quota, and the remaining 25 percent for the management quota.

As per the new fee structure, a student has to pay anywhere between ₹76,135 and ₹84,595 for admission to the first-year engineering course under the government quota and ₹1.86-2.61 lakh for admissions under the COMED-K quota, claimed officials from the Department of Higher Education.

Minister for Higher Education Dr MC Sudhakar told the South First: “It is not a new thing. College fees have been hiked every year, irrespective of the political party at the helm.”

He added: “In the previous academic year, the government had given a nod to hiking the private college fees by 7 percent against the demand of 10 percent.”

The minister noted: “This year, the UPEI demanded that the government increase the fees by 15 percent. Various factors were considered before a decision was made on the matter.”

He, added: “Private engineering colleges have to run the institution as per the guidelines of All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE).”

Pointing at the factors, Sudhakar said: “The UPEI highlighted that private institutions have to pay the wages for the teaching staff as per the 7th Pay Commission recommendations.

The minister added: “Expenditures are surging towards upgrading the skills of the students, inflation, and other administrative expenses.”

He noted: “The UPEI claimed that its constituents were spending ₹6-7 lakh for each student every academic year. Considering their concerns and to reduce the financial burden on them, we approved a 10-percent fee hike for the government and COMED-K quota seats.”

He further said that the state government would not get any kind of share in the college fees of the private institutions.

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Expert panel to decide fees in future?

The Department of Higher Education is planning to set up an expert committee to look into the revision of fees for professional courses from the next academic year, instead of making decisions just over deliberations.

All these years, the state government has hiked the college fees for professional courses only based on the demand by the UPEI.

Neither the government nor the UPEI conducted any study before increasing the college fees by roughly 10 percent almost every year.

On condition of anonymity, a senior official from the Department of Higher Education told South First: “The government considers the demand of the UPEI and approves the college fee hike accordingly. We have not conducted any scientific study or prepared a report on the matter.”

He added that while the fee is usually hiked by 10 percent every year, it was unchanged only during the Covid-19 pandemic period.

“The minister is considering setting up an expert committee to conduct a scientific study on the matter. Based on the report and demands of the UPEI, the government is most likely to take a decision on college fee hike for professional courses from the following academic year,” said the official, claiming that this study would give the government a clearer picture of the matter.

He also pointed out: “The top colleges have no problems, as they are always in high demand for admissions. Moreover, they will be financially capable of implementing all the guidelines mentioned by the AICTE.

“However, it is not the same with the tier 2 and tier 3 colleges, which will have fewer admissions and be financially weak when it comes to implementing and following all the guidelines of the AICTE.

“As per the AICTE pay scale, the colleges have to pay minimum wages of ₹1.5 lakh for the teaching staff, and it goes even high for the senior teaching faculty.”

The senior official also noted: “Several private institutions are grappling with following the AICTE rules. Hence, the UPEI demanded the college fee hike by an average of 10 percent annually.”

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