MUMBAI: At a time when all the IIMs have upped their fees, IIM Kozhikode, one of the older management schools, has decided to give a full tuition waiver for its toppers across all segments. The board, which met on Thursday, cleared a proposal to take a Rs 1 crore cut in fee revenue this year. As the selection list to Indian Institutes of Management Kozhikode’s flagship post-graduate programme was out, a dozen candidates were surprised to find that they were selected for a free ride to the college. These 12 students would have to only pay for their food and accommodation. The rest must shell out Rs 19 lakh for the two-year course. The management institute decided to give a full tuition waiver to 12 toppers from all merit lists, including those from the general category, women’s list, scheduled caste, scheduled tribes, other backward castes and the physically challenged. It may be recalled that this is the same Indian Institutes of Management which had rolled back its fees by Rs 30,000 in 2012 when all other institutes were hiking their tuition rates. “What matters in a system of excellence is meritocracy. But when there are no equal opportunities, you can’t define meritocracy. By giving them a full fee waiver, we feel it will have an aspirational value for topping the charts in each category,” said IIM Kozhikode director Debashish Chatterjee. “We are ploughing back for the students for whom we exist, essentially honouring our biggest stakeholders,” he added. This year, a total of 833 offers were made to candidates. Of those, 595 are male candidates and 238, or approximately 28.5%, are female candidates. As many as 676 candidates are engineers and 581 come with work experience. “This admission season, we wanted to start an initial conversation in the IIM system that whatever surplus you make, plough it back as a voluntary gesture, not out of compulsion or government laws,” Chatterjee said. Over 10% of IIMK students are from families with an annual income of Rs 1 lakh or less, and most avail of loans for their studies. These include full fee waiver to 1% of students having proven record of excellence in academics, sports, extra-curricular or social activities through awards or recognition at national or international level, and full fee waiver for children of martyrs belonging to the military, paramilitary or police force. Half fee waiver is granted to children of defence or allied services who were injured during action and lost their earning capacity. #ElectionsWithTimes