The Ministry of Education has issued new guidelines for granting deemed university status under the UGC


Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan announced the UGC (Institutions Deemed to be Universities) Regulations, 2023, which will supersede the current standards.

The Ministry of Education

According to the University Grants Commission's updated criteria, higher education institutions that are less than 20 years old will now be allowed to apply for presumed university status, and private universities would be required to form executive councils similar to central universities.

The Centre announced amended guidelines on Friday for current higher education institutions seeking deemed to be status, reducing the eligibility criteria in order to build more quality-focused deemed universities.

Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan announced the UGC (Institutions Deemed to be Universities) Regulations, 2023, which will supersede the current standards.

According to Pradhan, the new standards are based on the National Education Policy 2020's concept of a "light but tight" regulatory framework.

"The new simplified guidelines will encourage universities to focus on quality and excellence, strengthen the research ecosystem, and have a long-term impact on transforming our higher education landscape," says the report. "The norms will make it easier to establish many more quality-focused universities in an objective and transparent manner," Pradhan added.

The University Grants Commission (UGC) Act authorises the federal government to provide the status of institution deemed to be university to any institution other than a university. The initial set of regulations in this regard were published in 2010, and they were amended in 2016 and 2019.

According to the 2019 requirements, higher education institutions that have been in operation for "at least 20 years" were eligible to apply for the designation. However, it has now been replaced by multidisciplinarity, NAAC grading, NIRF rating, and NBA grading in the new rules.

According to the guidelines, any multi-disciplinary institution with valid NAAC accreditation and at least 3.01 cumulative grade point average (CGPA) for three consecutive cycles, NBA accreditation for two-thirds of eligible programmes for three consecutive cycles, or ranking in the top 50 of any specific category of NIRF for the last three years continuously will be eligible to apply for the deemed status.

Furthermore, a cluster of institutions controlled by more than one sponsoring body or society might petition for judged to be university status, according to the statement.

The new regulations also include the "Distinct Institution" category, which includes an existing institution or a new institution focused on teaching and research in unique disciplines and/or addressing the country's strategic needs, or engaged in the preservation of Indian cultural heritage or the preservation of the environment, or dedicated to skill development, sports, languages, or any other discipline as determined by the EAC.

M Jagadesh Kumar, chairperson of the UGC, stated that the 2023 rules are in line with the NEP 2020 and are light but tight.

"We hope that these regulations will encourage the establishment of many more high-quality higher education institutions in our country's emerging areas to meet the aspirations of our students." We cannot remove the phrase 'deemed to be universities' because it is part of the UGC Act of 1956. It would be eliminated, though, once the Higher Education Commission of India is created by an act of Parliament," he stated.

Currently, the country has over 170 designated institutions.

The faculty strength has been expanded from 100 to 150, the corpus money for private colleges has been enhanced from Rs 10 crore to Rs 25 crore, and executive councils similar to those found in central universities have been established in these universities as well.

The amended standards also require deemed universities to register with the Academic Bank of Credits (ABC). "In accordance with the provisions stipulated in the regulations concerned, the institutions may offer twinning programmes, joint degree programmes, and dual degree programmes," the recommendations read.

Furthermore, considered universities with a 'A' grade or higher or ranked from 1 to 100 in the "universities" category of the current year's NIRF rankings are allowed to establish off-campus centres.

"Institutions declared as deemed to be universities under a 'distinct category' can apply for off-campus after five years if they are accredited with an A grade or ranked in the top 100 in the NIRF's 'universities' category," the guidelines continued.