UGC Draft norms to allow foreign university campuses in India

The University Grants Commission (UGC) has released draft regulations for foreign universities or higher education institutions to establish their campuses in India. The UGC (Setting up and Operation of Campuses of Foreign Higher Educational Institutions in India) Draft Regulations 2023 state that foreign universities wishing to set up in India should be ranked within the top 500 of global rankings in their subject area. Institutions that have not participated in world rankings may also be considered for establishing a campus in India if they are highly reputed in their home countries.

Establishment Criteria

The draft regulations mandate that foreign universities establishing a campus in India must comply with the Foreign Exchange Management Act 1999. They may set up a campus through the Companies Act, the Limited Liability Partnership Act 2008, or through a joint venture with an existing Indian entity, or by starting a branch office. Once the necessary criteria have been fulfilled, the UGC will grant approval for 10 years, which must be renewed in the 9th year.

Admission Criteria and Fee Structure

The UGC has granted authority to foreign universities or higher education institutions to determine their own admission criteria for both Indian and international students on their campus in India. They have also been given the freedom to decide on their fee structure, which must be transparent and reasonable, and hosted on their website.

Based on the evaluation process, foreign higher education institutions may offer full or partial need-based scholarships to students from their endowment funds, alumni donations, tuition revenues, or any other resources, according to Prof. Kumar.

Course Offerings and Staffing

Foreign universities with campuses in India will not be permitted to offer courses through online or ODL (open and distance learning) modes. They will also not be allowed to offer any programs of study that compromise national interests or standards of higher education in India. Violation of or failure to adhere to regulations may result in penalties, suspension, or withdrawal of approval.

Qualifications awarded to students who study at the Indian campus of a foreign university will be recognized and treated as equivalent to the corresponding qualifications awarded by the foreign university at its main campus in its country of origin. Foreign universities or higher education institutions have been granted autonomy to recruit staff from India and abroad in accordance with their recruitment norms. Foreign faculty appointed to teach at the Indian campus should stay for a reasonable period of time, such as one or two semesters.

European countries have expressed interest in establishing their universities’ campuses in India, according to Prof. Kumar. The draft regulations will also be sent to foreign ambassadors in New Delhi and abroad for their suggestions and comments.




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