Thiruvananthapuram: Students appearing for entrance examinations and pursuing self-financing courses may have to shell out more thanks to the introduction of the Good and Services Act (GST). Medical and engineering students who have joined self-financing colleges may see their already high fees shoot up, raising serious doubts about the viability of professional education in states such as Kerala.
The government plans to impose the GST for courses beginning next year. The Jawaharlal Nehru University in Delhi has already informed that the entrance tests to the masters, M Phil and doctorate courses will be taxed under the new regime.
Applicants to the Indian Institutes of Technology and Indian Institutes of Science will also have to pay the GST. The Indian School of Business Management in Hyderabad carries a fee of Rs 2.5 lakh plus the GST of Rs 46,000.
The GST may be imposed on Rs 800 application forms for the engineering and medical courses in Kerala from next year.
Top sources in the administration said they were waiting for clarifications on how to implement the new rules in the state. Clarity is nowhere near the picture though.
Applications have been invited for the Common Entrance Test to the Indian Institutes of Management but there is no mention of the GST. Details of the tax regime change and its applications on the education sector may be more clear as and when applications are invited to the national level entrance exams.
Economists are divided on the introduction of the GST in the higher education sector. A section of experts points out that the GST has been exempted only up to the higher secondary and the GST Council can impose 18 percent tax on college and university studies.
Yet another group argues that the education sector has been totally exempted from the GST, except hostel fee, mess fee and canteen services. In any case, the GST may be applicable to coaching services.