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NLS hikes fees by massive 50k to Rs 2.3 lakh [CORRECTION]

NLS: New vs old fees (excluding annual inflation adjustments)
NLS: New vs old fees (excluding annual inflation adjustments)

NLSIU Bangalore has quietly rolled out a significant total tuition costs hike of Rs 47,000, increasing from Rs 1.838 lakh annual fees to Rs 2.305 lakh for general category students (and more for first-time joiners).

Fees hikes had been last announced in 2015 to Rs 1.635 lakh, which was adjusted annually for inflation to increase to Rs 1.838 lakh last year (a 12% increase; around the same time, between 2015 and 2018, aggregate national inflation figures were equal to around 15%).

But the current increase to Rs 2.305 lakh is another 25% on top of that.

We reached out to the Student Bar Association (SBA), which commented: “The sudden and substantial hike makes things difficult for students coming from financially unstable backgrounds, especially given the current shift in demographics, with increased diversity and more students from Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities.

“A number of students have to rely on educational loans to manage expenses, and the sudden increase causes severe difficulties. We are collectively petitioning the Executive Council on the 6th July meeting to reduce the hike, at least for the current batches, other than minor inflation adjustments.”

Messages to outgoing NLSIU VC Prof Venkata Rao for comment about the fee-hike did not elicit a response.

The tuition fees component was hiked by 25% to from Rs 80,000 to Rs 1 lakh, while other costs such as hostel room rent, amenities, and mess fees have increased similarly.

“Infrastructural fees”, have been hiked by 56% from Rs 12,000 to Rs 18,750, with a new head of “electricity charges” now constituting Rs 15,000.

“Medical fee”, which also states it includes medical insurance from this year, has more than tripled in price from Rs 1,000 to Rs 3,750.

For new students those fees are even higher, since they include lots of one-off onboarding costs and several refundable deposits.

In a notification uploaded on the frontpage of its website yesterday, it reminded students to pay the new fees by 24 June if they wanted to reserve their place at NLS (helpfully noting that only Rs 2.12 lakh would need to be payable by newcomer general category students after deducting the Rs 50,000 already paid to CLAT).

But NLS does good on IDIA scholarships at least

That said, NLS is also one of the few NLUs that provides generous full scholarships of tuition fees, including hostel and food costs, to students qualifying via the Increasing Diversity by Increasing Access (IDIA) initiative.

NUJS Kolkata provides a scholarship of only one component of tuition fees to IDIA scholars, NLU Delhi covers tuition fees and hostel fees (but not the mess), while HNLU Raipur covers the tuition costs of IDIA scholars.

Reservation still looms?

According to a report from September 2018 the Deccan Herald, the “state government [was] holding backroom talks with the National Law School of India University (NLSIU) to convince the premier institute to provide reservations for Kannadiga students, even as a Bill passed to this effect is still pending” (see our report from 2017 about the bill).

Karnataka law minister Krishna Byre Gowda had told the Herald that the government was discussing the plan with stakeholders, while a “source” said that the government has asked NLSIU to begin 18% reservations for SC/ST students under a 1990 state law, telling the Herald: “With this, we hope to convince the NLSIU to reserve at least one-third, if not 50%, of seats for Kannadigas. That way, we can ensure seats for both SC/ST and general students from Karnataka.”

Correction: We have no up-to-date information about the current status of reservation talks. We had cited a Deccan Herald story from last year above and regret any confusion caused.

Reservations at NLUs have become political hot topics recently, with NUJS facing a 30% domicile quota, and Nalsar Hyderabad’s VC having been summoned to face a tribunal over not implementing an 85% “son of soil” quota.

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