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Foreign universities setting up campuses in India: An explainer

Foreign universities setting up campuses in India: An explainer

January 6, 2023

For the first time, foreign universities will be able to set up their campuses in India. The University Grants Commission (UGC) has unveiled draft regulations for ‘Setting up and Operation of Campuses of Foreign Higher Educational Institutions in India’. Here is a look at the modalities:

1. Eligibility: Two categories of foreign institutions eligible to apply for setting up their campuses in India — universities that have secured a position within the top 500 of overall or subject-wise global ranking or a reputed institution in its home jurisdiction.

2. Granting of approvals: The UGC will constitute a standing committee to examine matters related to setting up and operation of campuses of foreign higher educational institutions (FHEIs) in India. The panel shall assess each application on merits, including the credibility of the educational institutions, the programmes to be offered, their potential to strengthen educational opportunities in India, and the proposed academic infrastructure, and make recommendations thereof, within 45 days.

The commission may initially grant in-principle approval and issue a letter of intent to the FHEI to set up campuses in India within two years from the date of approval.

3. Admission criteria and fees structure: The foreign institutions will have the autonomy to evolve their admission process and criteria to admit domestic and foreign students. They shall decide the fee structure, which should be “transparent and reasonable”.

The institution will be mandated to make available the prospectus on its website at least 60 days before the commencement of admissions, including fee structure, refund policy, number of seats in a programme, eligibility qualifications, and admission process.

Based on an evaluation process, full or partial need-based scholarships may be provided by the FHEI from funds such as endowment funds, alumni donations, tuition revenues and other sources.

4. Faculty: FHEI hall have the autonomy to recruit faculty and staff from India and abroad as per its recruitment norms. It may decide the qualifications, salary structure, and other conditions of service for appointing faculty and staff.

However, the FHEI shall ensure that the qualifications of the faculty appointed shall be at par with the main campus of the country of origin. It shall ensure that the foreign faculty appointed to teach at the Indian campus shall stay at the campus in India for a reasonable period.

5. Safeguarding of students’ interest: FHEI shall not discontinue any course or programme or close the campus without the commission’s prior approval. In the case of a course or programme disruption or discontinuation, the parent entity shall be responsible for providing an alternative to the affected students.

FHEI shall have a mechanism to address students’ grievances. However, the students may appeal to UGC if the institution does not redress the grievances.

6. Equivalence with degrees awarded by Indian HEIs: The qualifications awarded to the students in the Indian campus shall be recognised and treated as equivalent to the corresponding qualifications awarded by the FEHI in the main campus located in the country of origin.

The qualifications awarded under the regulations shall be equivalent to any
corresponding degree awarded by the Indian HEI.

7. Securing India’s national interest: FEHIs shall not offer any such programme or course which jeopardises the national interest of India or the standards of higher education in India. The operation of FEHIs shall not be contrary to the sovereignty and integrity of India, the security of the State, friendly relations with foreign states, public order, decency, or morality.

8. Working of finances: Cross-border movement of funds and maintenance of foreign currency accounts, mode of payments, remittance, repatriation, and sale of proceeds, if any, shall be as per the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) 1999 and its Rules.

FEHI shall submit to the commission an annual report, giving details of programmes offered, the number of students admitted and passed out, and qualifications awarded.

Also Read: Students welcome UGC’s draft norms on foreign universities

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