"On my third attempt, I cracked the Indian Institute of Mass Communication (IIMC) entrance examination. I wanted to study journalism since my college days. However, fees for the Hindi journalism course are Rs 95,000 for a year. Seeing that, I think I cannot complete my course from IIMC. I have deposited the first instalment of Rs, 52,000, but I don't know from where the rest of the amount will come,” said Akash Pandey, a student of IIMC, while speaking to NewsClick.
“My father is a farmer and my entire family is dependent on agriculture. This time, the floods have completely damaged the crops. So, how will we make money and how will I give my second instalment?" asked Pandey.
There are several students like Akash who have cleared the IIMC entrance examination this academic year, but fear that they may not be able to take admission or complete their course because of a steep fee hike. The revised fee structure is expected to deny opportunities to students from the poor socioeconomic background.
The Executive Council (EC) of IIMC decided to hike the tuition fee for all of its courses during a meeting chaired by Secretary of Information and Broadcasting Amit Khare, starting from this session. The varsity increased the annual fee for English/Hindi Journalism courses from Rs 79,000 to Rs 95,000, to Rs 1.68 lakh for Radio and TV from Rs 1.45 lakh and to Rs.1.31 lakh for Advertising and PR from Rs 1.12 lakh.
"EC has decided to revise the fee structure, as we also invest money in infrastructure, AC classrooms, free communicator and convocation scarves for the students during convocation. Every year, fee has been being increased by 10% from the past twenty years, but from this session, it will not be increased in future if not needed," an IIMC employee told NewsClick on the condition of anonymity.
Avantika Tiwari, a student of Hindi journalism, who hails from Korba, a small town of Chhattisgarh, came to Delhi to fulfil her dream of being a reporter, but the burden of the steep increase has cast a shadow on her dream. Speaking to NewsClick, she said, "The IIMC has always been the best college for an aspiring journalist, and that was the driving factor behind me choosing it to pursue my post-graduation. I am fortunate that I have got admission here, but seeing the table of fee structure in a government institute is making me very nervous. I have paid Rs 52,000 tuition fee and Rs 21,000 for hostel. This amount is the first instalment for the first semester (six months). The rest of the tuition fee, Rs 43,000, and Rs 18,000 for hostel have to be paid in the next semester. So, we have to pay the total amount of Rs 1.34 lakh in a year. These might be nominal for the colleges and a section of students, but a large chunk of students who come from marginalised sections of the society will get affected by it. My father is a government employee and for me, it’s a big burden to pay such a huge amount. Imagine condition of those whose parents are working in the private sector.”
Tiwari, who has done her graduation from Banaras Hindu University, says that because she had to pat only about Rs 4,000-5,000 at the varsity, she had assumed that IIMC – being a government institute – will have a similar fee structure.
The IIMC, one of the most reputed media institutes in the country, has expanded from two campuses in Delhi and Dhenkanal to six campuses across the country – in Aizawl, Amravati, Jammu and Kottayam – over the last five years. The students of these new centres also feel that the institute is putting a huge financial burden on them.
Commenting on the issue, KG Suresh, former director-general of the IIMC, told NewsClick, "After executive council meeting which was held many years ago, it was decided that IIMC will increase tuition fee by 10% in every academic session and since then, the same policy is being implemented. But now, it should be reviewed. Otherwise, such a huge amount for students who come from states like Bihar and UP would surely make them suffer. There must be some difference between the private college and the IIMC in terms of the fees charged."
"IIMC generates about 30% of the revenue and rest 70% comes from Ministry of I&B. During my tenure, I did some extra work to generate revenue like giving space to the bank and conducting many events. This time, administration should start self-finance courses in order to generate revenue," added Suresh.
NewsClick also tried to approach Vikram Sahai, joint secretary (policy and administration), Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, but he could not be reached.
HOSTEL ACCOMMODATION: AN ISSUE FOR BOYS
Lack of hostel accommodation has always been a key issue for the students at the IIMC, especially boys, who are forced to look for affordable places to stay outside the campus.
Pandey told NewsClick, "There is a single hostel for boys at IIMC with 14 rooms and the hostel can be allotted to only 42 students; allotment is based on merit. Three-four students live in one room, and the total strength of students at IIMC Delhi is nearly 300. In this condition, we are bound to live in a PG [paying guest facility] or a rented room near the institute. Living in a city like Delhi is expensive, and difficult for students like us coming marginalised backgrounds."
Meanwhile, Komal Joshi, who has been selected for an English journalism course at Dhenkanal says that the hostel and dining hall fees – which are compulsory for every student – is a “hassle”.