'National Interest', 'No Online Classes': UGC Drafts Rules for Entry of Foreign Universities

The draft regulations were released to the public on January 5. UGC has sought public inputs and feedback.

New Delhi: While foreign universities will be able to set up campuses in India, according to the University Grants Commission’s draft regulations, the norms they would need to follow include adhering to ‘national interest,’ sticking to offline classes and others.

The draft regulations were released to the public on January 5. UGC has sought public inputs and feedback.


The draft notes that only foreign universities that have secured a rank within the “top 500 of overall/subject-wise global rankings”, as decided by the UGC, will be permitted to establish an Indian campus.

This is found in section 3.1 of the UGC draft. UGC’s drafts do not mention which global rankings it will recognise.

Fee structures, admissions, appointments

The draft gives the concerned institutions complete freedom to freeze on a “transparent and reasonable” fee structure (5.2), endowments and scholarships (5.4), and admissions process (5.1).

The draft gives universities autonomy in deciding who they want to admit, for how much, and the amount of financial support they can provide potential students.

For teachers, the rules are similar.

The draft notes that the institution may decide the qualifications, salary structure, and other conditions of service for appointing faculty and staff.

“However, the FHEI [Foreign Higher Educational Institutions] shall ensure that the qualifications of the faculty appointed shall be at par with the main campus of the country of origin,” it says.

The annual report of the institution should be made available on its website or its campus.

“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,” the draft also says.

The institutes will be required to submit audit reports to the UGC.

Online classes

Despite COVID-19 making online classes a norm, the UGC draft vehemently prohibits online classes and ODL (Open and Distance Learning) in section 7.3.

Additionally, the draft states that faculty are required to spend a “reasonable period” at an Indian campus (6.3) and must be on par with the quality of educators at the foreign institution’s main campus (6.1). 

National interest

Section 7.8 of the draft states that the institutions making their foray into India must “not offer any such programme of study which jeopardises the national interest of India or the standards of higher education in India”.

The draft does not go beyond this to state what would be an example of jeopardising the national interest of India or its standards of higher education. 

It then says (in 7.9), “The operation of Foreign Higher Educational Institutions 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.”