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Foreign University in India

Context: Foreign universities have received the Indian government’s nod to set up their campuses in India.

Highlights of Guideline for Setting up Foreign University in India

  • Aim: To increase access to higher education by encouraging prominent foreign higher education institutions (FHEI) to construct satellite campuses in India.
  • Eligibility: FHEIs should have a top 500 global ranking or a well-established reputation in their native country and will only be permitted to offer physical education lessons.
  • FHEI will have the autonomy to decide their admission process, fee structure, remuneration to teachers, and repatriate their funds back home.
  • They can offer full-time programmes in offline mode and not online or distance learning in their campuses across the country.
What Draft Regulations Say
What Draft Regulations Say

Significance of FHEIs in India

  • Promote competition: It would primarily encourage competition between current private universities and institutions with foreign branches.
  • Business Learning: Foreign nations and educational institutions will offer home campus students chances to gain knowledge of Indian society, business, and culture in order to engage in expanding trade and other relations.
  • Boost Research: The enrolments in M.Phil and PhD courses in India are very low. It can be expected that campuses of reputed foreign institutions will improve enrolments in research courses and help improve the research ecosystem in India.
  • Save Brain Drain: According to Ministry of Education, the number of Indian students going abroad increased from 4.4 lakh in 2021 to 7.5 lakh in 2022. This can be reduced.
  • Reduce the need for foreign exchange: As per the Reserve Bank of India, the related outward remittance spent on education in 2012-2022 was about $5.1 billion.

Opportunity for Foreign Institutions in India

  • Financial Opportunity:  Number of Indian students opting for higher education overseas grows annually and their abroad spending is set to grow from current annual $28 billion to $80 billion by 2024.
  • Ripening Education Market: All-India Survey on Higher Education estimates that 4.13 crore students are enrolled in higher education.
    • If the policy target is to achieve a 50% enrolment ratio by 2035 from the current 27.3%, the intake of students will almost double in 15 years.

Challenges for Foreign Universities

  • Financial feasibility: The OECD’s global study on the internationalisation of higher education pointed out that financial aspects of setting up an offshore campus are likely to prevail despite good intentions.
  • Fee Disparity: FHEIs will have to compete with highly subsidized IITs in India
  • Quality vs Quantity of Education: As per the key conditions of the UGC, they have to offer services on par with what they offer at home. In that case, they must bring in foreign faculty and invest significant capital. Then fees would be very high.
  • An international campus means more exposure: With exposure to various cultures and languages, students who study abroad have an opportunity to widen their horizons and develop more cultural awareness.
    • Since model students in such colleges in India would be primarily Indian, it will be challenging for international campuses in India to offer this exposure.

Concerns Associated with FHEIs

  • Efficiency of FHEIs: According to 2019 Global Education Monitoring Report, despite GCC nations heavily investing in branch campuses of foreign universities and providing them financial incentives, “the employment workforce nationalisation has been elusive.”
  • Poaching of the best faculty talents: The lack of resources in Indian universities, poor infrastructure, unattractive pay perks, insufficient research facilities and the absence of conducive work culture may result in an exodus of capable faculty to FHEIs.
  • Educational disparity: FHEIs can further widen the educational disparity among students, especially the needs of a small minority of Indian students.
  • Regulatory Challenge: India’s FHEI regulations may not be sufficiently enforced, which could result in instances where students are exploited or denied recourse in the event of issues.

Way Forward

  • Regulatory Clarity: For the formation, operation, and accreditation of foreign universities in India, the government should lay down precise rules and regulations.
    • This can help guarantee that these institutions run in accordance with Indian laws and rules.
  • Cooperative Model: FHEIs could be encouraged by the government to cooperate and partner with already-existing Indian institutions.
    • This would lessen rivalry and guarantee that Indian institutions and students benefit from foreign universities.
  • Reforming Native University: India needs to reform its universities in a variety of ways, including raising funding for higher education, enhancing educational standards, and encouraging new ideas and research.


  • Setting up foreign universities will not lead to a radical reduction in outward flow, but would marginally increase local options and redistribute students amongst the elite institutions.

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What is the Aim of Foreign University in India?

Aim: To increase access to higher education by encouraging prominent foreign higher education institutions (FHEI) to construct satellite campuses in India.

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