It is that time of the year when parents are reminded about the cost of a career, and they don't mind spending any amount for their children's future. But this year, medical college admissions, often termed recession-resistant, are a different story . Some institutes are finding it difficult to fill certain categories of post-graduate seats.
The most extreme example is of Kashibai Navale Medical College, Pune. Thanks to an astronomical annual fee of Rs 96.6 lakh, all to be paid by cheque, the college has received just 10 students for its 31 management quota seats--a first for the institute, which usually sees a flood of candidates every year. Medical education experts say this is among the highest tuition fees across the country and perhaps the world. With the state's 50% quota undercutting their economics, medical colleges have been forced to hike fees for their management quota seats.Kashibai Navale Medical College, Pune is charging a staggering annual fee of Rs 96.6 lakh for its post-graduate seats. Last year, the college charged Rs 7.9 lakh uniformly for all seats, including for the NRI quota. This year, it has asked the Fee Regulation Authority to allow it to charge Rs 15 lakh under the merit, or state, quota. A decision is yet to be taken.
The massive hike in tuition fee for the management (35%) and NRI (15%) quotas in private and deemed universities is because the introduction of the state quota has resulted in the subsidizing of medical education for these merit-based students. So, the fee hike is a cross-subsidy .
Ranging from an annual fee of Rs 5.8 lakh at Terna Medical College to Rs 26.7 lakh at MGM Medical College (both in Navi Mumbai) for the state quota, the range is arbitrary . For the management quota, the annual tuition fee when all institutes are considered is between Rs 17.4 lakh and Rs 96.6 lakh.
At the close of the first admission round on Tuesday , medical colleges were looking for candidates to fill up vacant management quota spots. K J Somaiya Medical College, Mumbai, which has six of these seats, had only three candidates sign up.
“I am working with the management to re-align our tuition fees to make them realistic,“ said a college principal.Officials in the Fee Regulation Authority said they only set fees for the state quota.
“What is difficult to understand is the type of accounting followed by these institutes,“ said Dr Vivek Korade, president, Forum Against Commercialization of Education.
An official from the Directorate of Medical Education and Research explained that till last year colleges charged a lower (official) fee and took a large element in cash, which would not be reflected in the account books. “From now on, these would all get reflected in the books. In the next year's fee-setting process, all this would reflect a large income, and hence fees would drop,“ said the official.