Not just tuition fees, financial aid too rise at IIMs

If you find fees at the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) exorbitant, think twice. While most of the IIMs may have hiked the tuition fees of their flagship post-graduate programme in management as well as agri business and executive programmes, financial aid to students in various forms have also risen at the premier B-schools.

As per the four IIMs that Business Standard reached out to, the cost of extending financial waivers has risen at most of the campuses, with IIMs now incurring more than what they earn from fees.

Take the IIM Ahmedabad for instance, which spends Rs 7-8 crore for providing fee waiver to candidates from financially weaker sections, thereby supporting over one-third or 34 per cent of the batch. IIM Bangalore (IIM-B), on the other hand, incurs an annual cost of Rs 6-7 crore for financial aid and benefits on an average 60 students or roughly 15 per cent of the PGP batch and another 10 students from the executive programmes.

Under its Financial Aid Policy, IIM-B extends financial aid to students in need of financial assistance wherein all PGP students with annual household income below Rs 4,50,000 are eligible to apply for financial aid. Other students with severe financial difficulties arising from sudden unforeseen circumstances are also considered.

"The Financial Aid Committee undertakes a two-step process for deciding the number of awardees and quantum of aid for each student. Students are provided 100 per cent, 80 per cent, 60 per cent, 40 per cent or 20 per cent fee waiver (based on the assessed financial need) for the entire programme. In addition to the Financial Aid, which is provided purely on the basis of financial need, PGP students also receive several merit-based or merit-cum-need-based scholarships, from a number of corporates, state & central Government Ministries, and alumni instituted scholarships," the Admissions Office of IIM-B stated.

In any case, most of the IIMs tend to depend on other sources of revenue such as executive education and endowments. However, IIMs have undertaken fee hike in order to adjust inflation as well as Seventh Pay Commission implementation. IIM-A recently revised the tuition fees by 7.7 per cent to Rs 21 lakh for the two year PGP. Similarly, fees for the flagship PGP at IIM-B grew from Rs 17 lakh for two years for the 2014-16 batch to Rs 19.50 lakh for the 2017-19 batch, whereas that for the executive PGP (EPGP) grew from Rs 22.77 lakh for the 2014-16 batch on shared accommodation basis to Rs 24.15 lakh for the 2017-19 batch on share accommodation basis.

At IIM Kozhikode too, as against Rs 1.68 crore spent on fee waiver for 54 students in two years of the 2015-17, the institute spent Rs 1.81 crore in the first year of the 2016-18 batch. The institute currently charges fee of Rs 16 lakh for two years PGP batch of 2017-19 as against Rs 13 lakh for two years for the 2015-17 batches.

On the other hand, IIM Lucknow too saw amount disbursed under financial aid to students rise from Rs 75.5 lakh for 43 students for the two year 2015-16 batch to Rs 1 crore disbursed to 47 students for the two year 2016-17 batch. IIM Lucknow charges the lowest fees among the top four IIMs at Rs 14 lakh for two years PGP.

If the fee waiver is not enough, some of the IIMs have also begun offering financial support through other forms such as scholarships. Recently, IIM-A's Board of Governors approved a form of support in terms of exit scholarships which are aimed at supporting graduating students joining social sector jobs or social entrepreneurship in repaying education loans. Similarly, at IIM Bangalore, in addition to financial aid, which is provided purely on the basis of financial need, PGP students also receive several merit based or merit-cum-need based scholarships, from a number of Corporates, State & Central Government Ministries, and alumni instituted scholarships.

What's more, IIM-B also has a policy of full fee-reimbursement to students who join/start Not-for-profit sector (NGO) or social enterprise, immediately after graduating from the institute. Students, who meet the qualifying criteria, are reimbursed one-third of the fee paid at the end of each year of working, for three years.

IIMs, however, do state that given other sources of revenue, the premier B-schools are not so much concerned about earning the same through tuition fees.

"We are not concerned about revenue part, we are in the domain of higher education. PGP is already subsidised, our priority is not revenue from PGP. The shortfall in revenue is made up through Management Development Programmes, training, and consulting, among others," the admissions office at IIM Lucknow stated. IIM-A too stated that the institute was "constantly exploring new avenue to augment revenue, and minimise costs."