Transport yourself back in time to August of 1997 at the Pilani bus stand, buzzing with the activity of hordes of freshers/freshies arriving from all over the country. Take a moment to relive the excitement, anticipation, new found freedom and responsibility that we experienced on those first days on campus. As we journeyed through those formative years, we explored, we erred, we formed everlasting friendships and bonds, and we grew. And as we grew with every passing year on campus, so did our sense of belonging. When we eventually left Pilani, we took with us a little piece of BITS, and a whole lot of pride, in a brand synonymous with excellence.
In the 25 years since, as each of us have evolved in our personal and professional lives, BITS has been evolving too. Many of the things that initially drew us to BITS still hold true. Supported by strong faculty, excellent course structure with elective options, multiple touch points with the industry, the undergraduate program at BITS continues to attract top talent from across the country, including board toppers. But as with most endeavors and enterprises, pain points have also emerged. In the case of BITS, strong competition from institutions in tier 1 and tier 2 cities has started to draw students, due to better infrastructure, more favorable living conditions, proximity to home and lower fee structures. Further, the gender ratio at BITS has fallen significantly from our times, making families very uncomfortable sending their girls to attend college in a small town far away. As a consequence, BITS Pilani has now slipped to a ranking of 25th among the colleges in India.
Now more than ever, we need to do our part in nurturing, preserving and building on the varied elements that have made BITS an exceptional and uniquely differentiated undergraduate institution in India. In close collaboration with the BITS Institute, we have identified the following priorities:
Incentivize top talent in the country to choose BITS
- Ensure meritorious students make BITS their number one choice.
- Provide help with overcoming the high fees BITS Pilani charges as a private institution
- Encourage female participation so families are comfortable sending their girls to BITS.
Provide on campus practical training/research opportunities
- Provide opportunities for students to innovate, tinker and build
- Promote undergraduate research as an additional on campus practical training element
Continue to build on entrepreneurial elements of BITS education
- Encourage incubating homegrown startups on campus.
What can we do to help?
BITS Pilani is a merit-only institution, with no government or private grants funding its operations. As a self-sustained entity, student fees constitute the primary source of income for the institute. Competitive research grants and alumni funding currently contribute to less than 10% of the total capital available to the institute to deploy across several high-priority initiatives including hiring and retention of top faculty, modernization and expansion of infrastructure, and investment in research facilities/activities. This puts a disproportionate burden on incoming students with ever-growing fee structure (current cost of attending BITS is around Rs 5 lacs per annum).
Sustained, ongoing support and give back from alumni can go a long way in alleviating this financial burden. To put this into perspective, top universities in the United States have billions of dollars in endowments, mostly built up through alumni contributions. Each year, about 55% of all alumni give back to their universities. Giving back now is a step in the right direction, for BITS and for us.
As some of us get ready to take that journey back to campus, whether you’re joining us in person or in spirit, we ask for your help in creating a sustainable, legacy 97 Batch Silver Jubilee Endowment fund. The biggest fundraise before was from the batch of 93, at Rs 4 crores. We’d like to beat that. We have set our 97 batch target fundraise at Rs 5 crores.
What can Rs 5 crores/USD 600,000 do for BITS?
We aim to structure the 1997 Batch Silver Jubilee Fund as a perpetual endowment. Once we make our Class Gift, BITS institute will own management of the funds and will invest this money in safe fixed deposits. The interest earned on this will provide approximately Rs 35 lacs (at 7% interest rate) every year to be deployed towards the goals mentioned above, through 100% merit scholarships, research projects and funding on campus startups. A small portion every year will also go towards supporting the local community that supports BITS students (mess workers, chowkidars, redi wallahs, etc).
All contributions in India and the United States are tax deductible. Please check to see if your company makes a matching contribution as this is a great way to increase the impact of what you give..
Here are some examples of students who have received alumni funded scholarships from past batches.
Rishika Jain was the recipient of a 100% Scholarship recipient set up by 1986 Batch for each year she was in BITS. She has graduated and is currently working as Analyst at Goldman Sachs
Madhav Sikka was the recipient of an 80% scholarship setup by the daughter of a deceased BITSian, RD Grover, founder of CMS Computers. Madhav has graduated and is currently a member of the technical team at DevRev.
Steps for Payment (please carefully follow the instructions)
Add "Birla Institute of Technology and Science, Pilani" as Beneficiary while transferring, mention the "1997 Batch Class Gift" as "Payment Remarks" or "Description". In case of any query please write to email@example.com