In a major step to attract students from the SAARC countries, Indian universities will now slash their fee to level them with that of Indian students. The University Grants Commission(UGC) has taken a decision in this regard and asked the Central Universities, State Universities and Deemed Universities to implement it immediately.
The decision will immensely benefit the aspiring students from Afghanistan, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Maldives. These students have been paying higher fee compared to their Indian counterparts. In IITs, they pay USD 1000 (Rs 45,000) per semester while Indian students are paying Rs 25,000.
“The UGC has approved a proposal for reducing fee for the students of SAARC countries. They will pay the same amount as the Indian students are paying,” UGC Secretary R K Chauhan said.
He said the decision of the UGC has been communicated to the nearly 480 universities and deemed universities for its immediate implementation.
The proposal was originally mooted by Nepal which wanted reduction for its students in Indian universities.
However, the UGC decided to extend the benefit to all the SAARC countries.
The step assumes significance as India remains the most preferred destination for the students of the SAARC countries. Afghanistan sent 1,654 students, the highest number in 2008-09. The total number of foreign students that year was 3,471. The other major source countries are Nepal (238), Bangladesh (236), Sri Lanka (187) and Maldives (76).
Students from these countries mostly pursue MBBS, BE/B.Tech, Business Management, Hotel Management and Languages. Incidentally, the IIT and IIMs are mulling over reduction of fee for the foreign students. The IITs and IIMs are considering creating extra seats for foreign students. The number of foreign students are very less in the IITs and IIMs mainly because of the high fees, an IIT director said.
“IITs attract mainly students from the developing countries. These students find it difficult to pay the huge amount and develop a cold feet on coming here,” he said.
The number of seats could be hiked by 10 percent in IIMs to accommodate foreign students, who could have to appear in a G-MAT type of exam for the seat into the premier institutes.