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GST – Seeking Admission to Universities has Become Costlier

Seeking admission to universities has become costlier because of the GST, with most public and private varsities charging 18 per cent GST

GST – Seeking Admission to Universities has Become Costlier

Seeking admission to universities has become costlier because of the GST, with most public and private varsities charging 18 per cent GST on the price of their application forms.

“I applied for a certificate course on Vedic culture at the Sanskrit Centre of Jawaharlal Nehru University; I had to pay 18 per cent GST on the entrance fee of Rs 265,” said Biswambarnath Prajapati, a student.

JNU’s e-prospectus mentions the entrance fees for the various courses and adds “plus GST as applicable”.

Vidya Yeravdekar, pro-chancellor of the Pune-based Symbiosis International University, confirmed that her institution too was charging the tax. “The entrance examination is a service under the GST, so the students have to pay 18 per cent tax. But the GST will not apply to the tuition fees or any subsequent year-end examination,” Yeravdekar said.

According to the Goods and service tax notification, the exempted areas in education are:

• Services provided by an educational institution to its students, teachers and staff; and

• Services relating to admission to, or conduct of examinations by, such institutions up to higher secondary.

This means that the admission process at institutions above the higher secondary level is not exempt.

Prajapati said that admission seekers to professional courses would suffer the most because they usually apply to multiple institutions. The cost of the application form varies between Rs 100 and Rs 2,000. “It will be a burden on students from poor families. The government should exempt entrance tests from the GST.”

Prajapati said the issue had not yet led to any student protests because it is a recent development and the varsities had been closed for Dussehra.

Academics for Action and Development, a teachers’ group at Delhi University, on Wednesday wrote to human resource development minister Prakash Javadekar demanding that varsities stop charging the GST on their admission forms.

“Imposition of this tax is a virtual denial of education to students coming from socially and economically weaker sections,” the organisation’s leader, Aditya Narayan Misra, wrote in the letter.

The Central Board of Secondary Education, which conducts several all-India entrance tests, is yet to decide whether to charge the GST on its application forms.

Among the exams conducted by the board are the Joint Entrance Examination (Main) for engineering, National Entrance-cum-Eligibility Test for medical and dental undergraduate courses, and the Central Teachers Eligibility Test for the selection of schoolteachers.

The Indian Institutes of Technology, which conduct the JEE Advanced and the Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering, have not yet decided, either.

Source: The Telegraph

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