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UGC Calls for Proposals from State Private Universities for Off-Campus Centers

The University Grants Commission (UGC) has asked the state private universities, desirous of setting up off-campus centres within the state, to submit their proposals for the Commission’s consideration.

“The ‘UGC (Establishment and Maintenance of Standards in Private Universities) Regulations, 2003 allows State Private Universities to set up off-campus centre(s) with the prior approval of UGC and that of the State Government. The Commission in its 577th Meeting held on February 13, 2024 approved the modalities to consider the proposals of State Private Universities to set up their off-campus centre(s) within the jurisdiction of their respective states,” states the Commission’s notification.

According to the modalities, a university shall be allowed to start off-campus centre(s), within the jurisdiction of the state establishing the state private university.

The state private university shall start off-campus centre(s), provided that (a)there is a provision for opening off-campus centres in the respective State University Act; (b) the state private university has completed at least five years after commencement of its academic activities or programmes at its main campus; (c) the state private university has the acceptance of the compliance submitted by the state private university towards the fulfilment of criteria in terms of programmes, faculty, infrastructural facilities, financial viability, etc. by the UGC; (d) the state private university has the accreditation by the appropriate accrediting agency.

The state private university also must have an approval or issuance of a Letter of Intent from the relevant statutory or regulatory body (wherever applicable) to start a specific program of its interest in the off-campus centre. The infrastructure, faculty and other facilities at the proposed off-campus centre shall be in accordance with the norms and standards specified by the relevant statutory /regulatory body or the Commission.

Apart from this, the university shall have ownership title of the land (free of any encumbrances) or lease for a period of at least 30 years for the establishment of the proposed off-campus centre.

The university should also try to maintain high standards of education, including the requirement of manpower and physical infrastructure offered by the state private university at the off-campus centre, at least on par with the standards of education offered at the main campus. And also conform to internal and external quality assurance norms specified by the Commission and other Statutory/Regulatory/Professional Authorities concerned.

The university shall start further new programmes / department(s) / school(s) / increase in intake at its off-campus centre only after obtaining approval from the Academic Council/ Executive Council of the University and relevant Statutory/ Regulatory Bodies, wherever required and approval letters shall be displayed on the university website.

By following the procedure for setting up the off-campus centres, state private university may also apply for establishing an off-campus centre by taking over any affiliated college being run under the same sponsoring society or trust or company by progressively closing the affiliated college provided a no objection certificate from the affiliating university shall accompany the application. Any state private university that intends to start off-campus centre shall submit details in respect of the off-campus centre in the prescribed format (copy enclosed). The details submitted by the state private university to the UGC, shall be displayed on the university website. A processing fee of Rs 10 lakhs {one time) for establishing off-campus centre shall be charged from the state private university and further enhancement in the processing fee shall be as decided by the UGC from time to time. The Proposal of off-campus centre received from the state private universities shall be placed for consideration before the Standing Committee already constituted for considering the proposal for approval of 12 B Status and accepting compliance towards fulfilment of criterion under Section 13 of the UGC Act, 1956.

The Commission may also inspect of the off-campus centre, if any, either suo moto or on receipt of the complaint from any quarter to verify the veracity of the information provided in respect of off-campus centre by the University or for any other reason. Based on the inspection report, if serious violations of the norms and standards are found, the Commission shall take appropriate action to close down the off-campus centre. If any off-campus centre of University is closed down by the UGC, in order to protect the interests of students enrolled at such off-campus centre, the University shall take necessary action to shift such students to the main campus. An undertaking to this effect must be provided.

The expansion plan of the state private university through its off-campuses must align with its future academic vision plan rather than entirely driven by its commercial interests, adds UGC.

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