Collect fee commensurate with expenses for PG courses: Panel

Collect fee commensurate with expenses for PG courses: Panel

Universities in State on an average spend Rs 43,000 a student for one year

According to the panel, the move will sensitise the cost of higher education among all stakeholders of a university, besides improving the quality of education and also functioning of the departments. Students will have to pay more than just the course fee, if the recommendation is given effect to.

However, the panel also suggests that concessions for various student categories can be announced separately, on social, economic and gender criteria.

The research study “University Finances: A Study of Karnataka State Universities” was commissioned by the KKC and undertaken by the prestigious Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Bangalore. A team led by M Jayadev, Associate Professor, Finance and Control Area and G Ramesh, Associate Professor, Public Policy Area of IIM analysed the existing financial resources of 11 universities and suggested ways of raising funds.

Study methodology

As a case study to get an insight into the cost and fee structure aspects, the panel computed cost per student and the fee charges in three universities - Mangalore, Mysore and Karnatak - by selecting four departments from each university -  Economics, English, Physics and Biochemistry. (See tables)

The study found that universities across the State, on an average, spend Rs 43,000 per year per post-graduate student. The direct cost per student at department level is the least for Economics (Rs 32,000) and highest for Physics (Rs 2.47 lakh).

The expenditures directly traceable to the departments from the budget estimates of the university were computed. The direct cost and the allocated overhead cost were added to get the total cost. The total cost was divided by the number of students from each department to get the average cost per student.

The study also found that the average cost per student for Economics course is lowest in Mangalore University and highest in University of Mysore. University of Mysore which charges a fee of Rs 3,700 for the general category students, recovers only seven per cent of the direct costs. Mangalore University charged Rs 16,810 and recovered approximately half of the direct costs from the general category students. At the same time, the fees charged by universities were recovered less than half of the direct costs from the general category students.

Revision needed

In this context, the panel has suggested that a revision is needed in the fee structure for postgraduation and doctoral courses. For instance, the fees for Economics course in University of Mysore can be Rs 55,000 per year, as per the actual cost incurred. The government can offer concessions to social, economic and gender criteria on the basis of sticker price, the study report states.

The move would serve as a pre-requisite information for shifting to Student Centric Funding (SCF) from the current practice of faculty- and staff-based funding.

The panel has suggested that varsities can also adopt a hybrid model, where 50 per cent pay and allowances of the staff may be paid directly to all universities and excess of any other funding could be student-centric.

“This gives flexibility to the universities to allocate funds to improve the facilities for students and to attract them towards higher education”, the report states.