Expert Opinion



The Government has exempted basic education provided by schools, colleges and higher education centres, including centres of excellence from the ambit of GST. However, this exemption is only for education imparted. Allied services like supplies needed for education, like musical instrument, computers, sports equipment etc, or after school activities offered by third parties (sports coaching, special career coaching, food and accommodation supplied for excursion and, most importantly, uniform, stationery and other related supplies will come under GST on a 5% slab. This means that the fee will go up by at least 3%.      

— D Venkat, CEO, Strides India Consulting


Four per cent of GDP is spent on Education, nearly 50 per cent of it on primary education, and rightly so. But nearly half of India’s billion plus population is below 25 years. The provision of higher education is critical. The IIMs are exempt from GST, except for their Executive Development Programmes. Programmes under the National Skill Development Corporation are also exempt. However, much of the higher education programmes conducted by private institutions will attract taxes. There is a lack of clarity on its direct impact on students.

Coaching services, which provide discounts and scholarships, have to develop proper policies and documentation to claim exemptions and there are concerns here too. Tax on supplies will raise hostel expenses. Private institutions will be hard-pressed to balance quality of extra-curricular services which will hit the holistic education agenda.           

Prof Usha Manjunath, dean-academics, IIHMR, Bangalore


The Government doesn’t consider e-learning a traditional educational set-up, and hence, unlike schools, colleges and books, educational services provided online have not been exempted from GST. The tax impact for e-learning set-ups will go up from 15%  earlier to 18% under GST           

— Shobhit Bhatnagar, co-founder & CEO, Gradeup.


Though GST has given a breather to primary education, services provided to higher education institutions have been brought under the tax ambit which is a drawback as it will push up the cost of higher education. Coaching institutions will attract higher tax. This provision defeats the true objective of promoting education. Talking about its impact on Education start-ups, GST will herald process-level efficiencies, foster GDP growth, lead to reduction in cost and ensure ease of doing business             

— Rohit Mnaglik, CEO, EduGorilla



While it is the stated intention of the Government to raise enrollment at universities, the rising cost of education will adversely impact the higher education sector. The exemptions made on the vocational side for Government funded projects (i.e. through Sector Skill Councils) should be on industry-wide skills and should not be restricted only to Government-sponsored schemes. This will increase youth employability. The GST implementation will also raise the cost of compliance and time/ efforts involved in submitting various returns.

— Shriniwas Joshi, Chief Financial Officer, Manipal Global Education Services


The cost of higher education from private institutions, many of whom have dubious credentials and are not in any significant way helping impart the relevant set of skills to today’s youth, will go up. From our perspective, it would have been welcome if services which constitute “care” and not necessarily education could have been exempted as well. With the Maternity Benefits Amendment Bill, employers' would have to pay more for providing daycare/ crèche facilities to employees as there is additional tax on such services under the new GST regime. This will only increase the employers’ financial burden.

—Priya Krishnan, Founder and CEO, KLAY Schools 



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