UGC Norms

The University Grants Commission (UGC) has recently released draft norms that would allow foreign universities and educational institutions to set up campuses in India. These norms grant autonomy to the institutions in determining fees and have a streamlined approval process of 90 days. The final norms are set to be announced by the end of the month after receiving feedback from stakeholders.

Eligibility for Foreign Universities:

  • According to the draft norms, foreign universities with a ranking among the top 500 global rankings or foreign educational institutions of repute in their home jurisdiction can apply to the UGC to set up a campus in India.
  • The application will be examined by a standing committee appointed by the UGC, which will provide recommendations within 45 days. The committee will assess the institution's credibility, proposed programs, potential to strengthen educational opportunities in India, and proposed academic infrastructure.
  • After the committee's recommendation, the UGC has 45 days to grant in-principle approval for the foreign institution to set up a campus in India within two years. The initial approval will be valid for 10 years and can be extended.

Autonomy and Fees:

  • The foreign institutions will have autonomy in determining their admission process and criteria for both domestic and foreign students. They will also have the freedom to decide on their fee structure, with no caps imposed on them as with Indian institutions. The fees must be deemed "reasonable and transparent" by the UGC.
  • The institutions will also have autonomy in recruiting faculty and staff from India and abroad. The courses offered by the institutions cannot be in an online or open and distance learning format. The qualifications awarded to students at the Indian campus should have equivalence with those awarded by the institution in their home country.

Financial Matters:

  • The draft norms also allow for the cross-border movement of funds and the maintenance of foreign currency accounts for foreign higher education institutions.
  • The mode of payments, remittance, repatriation, and sale of proceeds will be in accordance with the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) and its rules. The institutions will be required to submit an audit report to the UGC.

The UGC's draft norms for facilitating the establishment of foreign universities and educational institutions in India have the potential to bring top-ranked institutions to the country and provide more educational opportunities for students. The norms grant autonomy to the institutions in determining fees and have a streamlined approval process. However, it is important to ensure that Indian universities are also granted the same level of autonomy and equal treatment in order to promote competition and improve the overall quality and excellence in Indian higher education.

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