The GST or Goods and Services Tax was launched at midnight at a function in Central Hall of Parliament on Friday. The biggest tax reform since Independence will change the indirect tax landscape of the country, subsuming over a dozen separate central and state taxes.
So what does it have in store for students? Consider the case of 22-year-old graduate Reetika Sethi who hopes to study International Business. For many like her, higher education may soon become more expensive than they bargained for. "From 15 per cent service tax it is going up to 18 per cent which will burden my extracurricular activities, my books and everything else. This is going to be an added burden on my parents," she said. Under GST, education in pre-schools and schools continues to remain tax free. However, services offered by colleges and universities will now be taxed at 18 per cent compared to the earlier 15 per cent. This tax could make campus food, medicine, transport, and other on-campus products or services more expensive. That's not all; the impact will also be felt for students who opt for coaching classes and non-conventional courses, which will also attract a 3 per cent hike under the GST.