All foreign universities opening their branches in India will be able to conduct courses offline only.
UGC Chairman, Mr. Jagadesh Kumar, today announced the guidelines for foreign universities establishing campuses in India. Kumar has issued guidelines on various topics like Indian Campus Admission Process of Foreign Universities, its Mode of Tuition, Transfer of Funds and more.
All foreign universities wishing to establish their campus in India will only be able to do so after obtaining approval from the University Grants Commission (UGC). “No foreign higher education can establish a campus without UGC’s approval,” the chairman said.
However, foreign universities establishing campuses in the country will get initial approval for a period of 10 years only. The approval granted will be renewed for the ninth year, subject to compliance with certain conditions.
To establish a campus in foreign Indian universities, you will need to be in the top 500 to apply or have a “high reputation” in your respective countries (if the university does not participate in the global ranking). If your rank is between 500 and 100, but the subject rank is higher than the overall, in such cases, institutions may establish their campuses only for ranked subjects. Procedure to come to India
The approval process to set up a campus in India will be done strictly online at first. Interested institutions must apply on the UGC portal with a non-refundable fee and then submit certain documents (as requested by UGC). After receipt of applications, a committee formed by the Commission will review these applications based on the following factors:
- Credibility of the institution
- Programs to be offered by the institution
- Its potential to enhance academic opportunities in India
- Proposed infrastructure
This process will take place within 45 days of the date of the request and the committee will provide its recommendations to the institute. After that, these recommendations will be considered by the Commission and the Commission may decide to grant an approval principle grant and issue a letter of intent to foreign HEIs to establish their campus.
The Commission will grant the institute two years to set up its campus. If an extension is necessary, the Commission will decide on a case-by-case basis. Once the campus is set up, the Commission will check the availability of the campus within 45 days of receiving the availability information from the HEIs.
Offline courses only
- All foreign universities opening their branches in India will be allowed to conduct offline courses only, i.e. foreign universities can only offer full-time programs in physical mode.
- Freedom to choose admissions process, fees, faculty
- Kumar assured that all foreign universities will be free to create their own admission process. However, universities will need to ensure that “the quality of education provided at their Indian campuses is on par with their main campus”.
- In addition to this, foreign HEIs will also have the freedom to design their own fee structure, provided it is transparent and reasonable. The regulations also state that institutes can award partial or full scholarships based on need from their own endowment funds, donations from alumni, etc.
- The Establishment and Operation of Campuses of Foreign Higher Education Institutions in India (UGC) Regulations 2023 also gives foreign institutions complete autonomy to hire faculty and other staff, whether abroad or in India. However, if any faculty members are traveling to India from other countries, they will be required to reside on campus for a considerable amount of time and dedicate resources to Indian campuses.
- “We have also stated in our regulations that campuses established by foreign higher education institutions will ensure that foreign professors appointed to teach on the Indian campus remain on the Indian campus for a reasonable period. It’s not like they come here for a week or two and then come back. They should be here for a reasonable length of time, i.e. at least a semester or two, and then there could be a rotation of these faculty members as decided by these universities,” he said.
- International students also be admitted to these institutes and will be free to enroll Indian and international students at their Indian campuses.
- To ensure there is no chaos in the transfer of funds, Kumar said that all matters related to financing will be in accordance with the Foreign Exchange Management Act of 1999. More details on this will be notified by the end of the month.
- Furthermore, UGC reserves the right to inspect these Indian campuses of foreign higher education institutions at any time, and they will not be outside the scope of criminal wrongdoing and other laws.