There are 3 ways in which children of NRIs can be admitted to engineering institutes in India. These three ways have been discussed in detail under:
1) The DASA scheme for NRIs in NITs: Main criteria is that the NRI student has to study 3 years out of last 6 years in foreign country and pass 11 & 12 from outside india with min. 60% marks. 14 reputed NITs, 2 IIIT and PEC are covered under this scheme. Annual fee is about $4000. The details of NIT DASA Scheme 2010 can be seen in this section of the website.The admissions to IITs/IIIT-Hyd is not applicable under DASA Scheme or NRI Quota.
2) NRI Quota: The key criteria is that the student has to to pass 11 & 12 from outside india with min 60% marks (unlike 3 years reqd for DASA scheme). NIT Trichy has about 24 seats under this quota (in addition to DASA scheme). Thapar Institute-Patiala and DAI-IT-Ghandinagar are some of the other reputed colleges with NRI Quota (However, the fee varies from $8000 to $11000 per year). Please note that for NIT-Trichy, the eligible candidates can apply for both DASA and NRI Quota.
3) NRI sponsored Quota: The key difference being the NRI sponsored student need not pass 11 & 12th from outside india. The sponsor (father/mother/brother/sister) should be an NRI as per IT rules. Many private colleges (including VIT-Vellore) have few seats under this scheme. NO NIT has this quota. Please see below list of prominent private Institutes with whom EdCIL has MOU and offer NRI Quota including NRI sponsored category. However, it is advisable to contact these intitutes to confirm if they still have a valid MOU for NRI Quota. The annual fee for NRI Sponsored Quota can range between US$5500 (RV College Bangalore), VIT-Vellore ($7500) to US$8500 (Thapar -Patiala)
Now, list of NITs most preffered by NRIs (in descending order of competition) during 2009. Please note that this list is skewed heavily towards south India NITs
1) NIT Surathkal
2) NIT Trichy
3) NIT Calicut
4) NIT Warangal
5) PEC Chandigarh
6) MNNIT Allahabad
7) Other NITs do not have similar heavy demand from NRIs (that really doesn't mean they are inferior in any respect)
We may be able to help you out in case you have any queries in this regard. We are presently students of reputed NITs in Southern India and believe that we can help you in providing the real information from the DASA people studying in the college. All I can say is one should fill-up 15 choices in DASA application form smartly to get the best institue/branch out of your PCM % in CBSE XII exam. Another helpful suggestion I can make is to utilize 1st Re-Allocation facility provided by EdCIL so that you can get good college on 'sliding basis' even if you are not top flyer in CBSE XII exam.