In a few colleges, the increased scrutiny by the Fee Regulating Authority (FRA) has even led to a drop in tuition fees. The additional fees in the institutional quota and NRI quota, which contributes to the college income, is also one of the reasons for the growth in fees in the last few years.
Parents claim that the fees, even when there is no increase, are unaffordable as most colleges charge over Rs10 lakh per annum, including caution deposits and other expenses.
The fees at Prakash Institute of Medical Sciences in Sangli, which was slashed by almost 40% last year, has now gone up to Rs7.05 lakh per annum. Last year, it was brought down to Rs4.84 lakh from Rs8.4 lakh. An FRA official said the college went in for a review last year and then the final fee was fixed at Rs5.75 lakh. This year, the college probably has seen the highest increase, compared to others.
The FRA invites fee rise proposals from colleges and scrutinises their expenditure and balance sheet before fixing fees. While colleges propose a rise, the FRA approves it only if it is justified. The fixed fees are then released in their minutes, and colleges can later seek a review. Except for two colleges, the newly started Atal Bihari Vajpayee Medical College and Hospital in Pune and Palghar’s Vedantaa Institute of Medical Sciences, fees of all medical colleges are fixed for the 2023-24 session.
“For the last few years we have been considering the higher fees charged under NRI and institutional quota as colleges’ income, which has helped in keeping the hikes stable,” said an FRA official, adding that the decline in expenditure during the pandemic may have also contributed to lower increases.
Students seeking to get into Kashibai Navale Medical College in Pune this year will have to pay a tuition fee of Rs14.23 lakh, as opposed to last year’s Rs13.91 lakh. Kashibai is among the colleges that charge relatively higher fees.
The lowest fees at a couple of colleges, which were at Rs6 lakh a couple of years ago, have now increased to Rs8 lakh.
Priya A, the mother of an aspirant, said though the tuition fee is stable, some colleges charge higher caution money and other refundable deposits, which run into a few lakhs.