In 2016, the Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry had proposed a fee hike for the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) across India. The fee hike decision has not only affected students, but associations which fund the education of needy IIT students are also feeling the pinch.
Despite these hardships, an alumnus from the 1970 IIT Bombay (IIT-B) batch, Ruyintan Mehta along with the Foundation for Excellence (FFE) group has donated Rs1.27 crore to the institute, to be disbursed over a period of four years to students in need, as an aid to the scholarship program.
“It’s a debt we alumnus feel towards our alma mater, especially those of us who move out of the country. This is our way of giving guru-dakshina to the institute,” said Mehta, who is also the president of IIT-B Heritage Foundation in the US. The institute has already interviewed several candidates in need of funding, and awarded a part of the scholarship to some students this academic year.
Another group, the Alumni Association of IIT-Bombay, has also has managed to raise over Rs7.5 crore to fund over 840 students in the last eight years. Beneficiaries of the programme also contribute to funds after they graduate from the institute. “It’s the intent that matters at the end of the day. We know so many students who intend to give back to the institution so as to help other students like them,” said Deepak Phatak, IIT-B alumnus and professor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering.
Soumyo Mukherji, dean of student affairs at IIT-B said, “We have a rule that no student will miss a chance to study at IIT-B due to lack of financial support. ”
Kirat Patel, IIT-B alumnus from the 1975 batch and committee member of FAP said, “With the increasing fees and the rising number of students in need of financial aid, we are ensuring that more beneficiaries reach out to us to ensure that the funds never goes dry.” FAP is an honour-based system of sustainable peer-to-peer support. Scholarships are available to all undergraduate and post-graduate students in the institute which covers the entire registration fee of students, including the tuition fee as well as the mess bill.
Prem Patel, a third-year IIT-B student said, “FAP funded my education. It also ensured a quick repayment of the loan that my father had taken.”