UGC’s Draft Guidelines for Grant Eligibility

UGC’s Draft Guidelines for Grant Eligibility. Unlocking Grants: UGC’s New Guidelines for Educational Institutions.

UGC’s Draft Guidelines for Grant Eligibility

In a groundbreaking move, the University Grants Commission (UGC) is set to revolutionize the criteria for educational institutions to receive grants from the Centre.

The proposed draft guidelines, titled “UGC (Fitness of Colleges for Receiving Grants) Rules, 2024,” aim to replace the outdated 1975 UGC guidelines and align with the progressive National Education Policy 2020.

Let’s delve into the key highlights that could reshape the landscape of higher education funding in India.

Embracing Change: UGC’s Modernized Approach

The UGC, cognizant of the evolving educational landscape, is introducing a comprehensive set of guidelines aimed at ensuring the quality and accountability of colleges affiliated to universities established under Section 2(f) of the UGC Act, 1956.

The draft guidelines, currently open for public feedback until March 4, 2024, propose a paradigm shift in evaluating institutions for grants.

Mandatory Listing under Section 2(f) – A Gateway to Funding

To maintain quality standards across all institutions, the UGC mandates colleges to be listed under Section 2(f). This listing empowers the implementation of statutory rules and holds colleges accountable to the UGC.

The draft policy introduces the concept of a 12(B) status, making colleges eligible for grants from the UGC, Centre, and other funding agencies, but only if they meet specific criteria.

Expanded Eligibility Criteria: Beyond Courses and Duration

The existing guidelines primarily focus on the type and duration of courses offered by institutions. However, the proposed guidelines broaden the eligibility criteria significantly.

The UGC now proposes that universities should have accreditation from the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) or have at least 60% of their programs accredited by the National Board of Accreditation (NBA), depending on the number of programs offered.

NAAC and NBA Accreditation: Cornerstones of Eligibility

For institutions lacking both NAAC and NBA accreditation, the draft guidelines introduce an alternative path. These institutions should secure a position in the National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF) at least thrice after participating five times or twice after participating thrice.

This move emphasizes the UGC’s commitment to promoting excellence and competition among educational institutions.

Financial Prudence: Reasonable Fees and Accountability

To be eligible for grants, the draft guidelines stipulate that colleges must charge a reasonable fee prescribed by the appropriate authority at the Central or state government. Importantly, these institutions should refrain from charging capitation fees or any unauthorized fees.

Proof of adherence to these guidelines, endorsed by the university, becomes crucial for credibility and eligibility to receive funding.

Faculty Strength and Compensation: Ensuring Quality Education

The UGC, in its pursuit of maintaining high educational standards, mandates colleges to have at least 75% of the total sanctioned teaching posts filled.

Furthermore, faculty members should not only be hired but also compensated according to the UGC or Central or state government policy.

This move aims to attract and retain quality educators, ensuring a conducive learning environment.

Undertakings for Accountability: Refunding Unutilized Funds

In a bid to enforce financial responsibility, the draft guidelines require colleges to submit an undertaking.

This undertaking includes a commitment to refund any unutilized funds received from the UGC or any other government funding agency.

The sponsoring Society/Trust associated with the college is also obligated to submit a similar undertaking, reinforcing financial transparency and accountability.

Seamless Application Process: Going Digital with UGC Portal

The draft guidelines introduce a streamlined application process, allowing colleges to apply online through the UGC portal for recognition under Section 12B of the UGC Act, 1956.

The affiliating university is tasked with examining the application and recommending it to the UGC for approval within 60 days.

This digital transition aims to enhance efficiency and transparency in the application and approval process.

Upholding Standards: Monitoring and Withdrawal of Status

The UGC asserts its commitment to upholding standards by incorporating a monitoring mechanism. If, at any point, a college is found in violation of the stipulated rules, the UGC reserves the right to withdraw its 12(B) status.

This stringent approach reinforces the importance of adherence to the guidelines for continued eligibility and funding.

Conclusion: Navigating the Future of Higher Education Funding

In conclusion, the proposed UGC guidelines signify a progressive step towards enhancing the quality and accountability of higher education institutions in India.

The emphasis on accreditation, faculty strength, financial prudence, and accountability reflects a holistic approach to fostering excellence in the educational landscape.

As educational institutions gear up for the future, these guidelines pave the way for a more competitive and robust higher education sector.