Dr. Sudhir Gavhane

Decoding The Process of Establishing a Private University

Prof. (Dr) Sudhir Gavhane, Vice-Chancellor at The MGM University, Aurangabad and a renowned academician guides us through the process of registering a college into a university in our very informative conversation.

Sujata Mehta: What is the first step in registering a college as a university?

Dr Sudhir Gavhane: There are five kinds of universities in India,

  1. First being the Central Public Universities, there are the universities are established by the Government of India.
  2. Next, are Institute of National Importance these universities are also established by the Government of India like IIT and IIMs.
  3. The third kind is the State Public University established by State Government under State Policy, these policies differ from state to state.
  4. Deemed Universities are private institutes having infrastructure and quality of a university and 
  5. Lastly, State Private Universities which are established by the State Government by passing a special act passed in State Legislative Assembly and is further published in the State Government’s official gazette, without this process, University is considered as a fake university by UGC a regulatory authority.

college as a university

For your question, If any institution wants to establish itself as a self-financed or private university, then they must approach to the concerned State Government and Higher Education Ministry and start the following process. 

  • Then they must apply to become a State Private University by following the guidelines and format provided by the particular state. 
  • The institution also has to approach the concerned higher education ministry to obtain format of application, fill the data with correct information about the land owned, funding and/or sponsoring bodies, required physical infrastructure and academic infrastructure (in the form of professors and faculty that is required with their qualification), programmes that will be offered. 
  • This document is filled as per the guideline of the concerned state government and higher education ministry of the state.

Sujata Mehta: Kindly put some light upon all government process one need to go through.

Dr Sudhir Gavhane: The process of registering a college as a university is quite extensive and time-consuming. The process can easily take up to a year.  These steps include:

  • The process starts by filling out an application consisting of details like land owned, physical and academic infrastructure, programmes etc. 
  • Once the application is filed, it goes to the screening committee which comprises of Existing/retired Vice-Chancellors, officials from the higher education ministry and field experts. 
  • A presentation is given to this committee which includes the vision, mission, operational strategies, unique selling propositions, programmes offered etc.
  • After the proposal is passed by the screening committee, Letter of Intent or LOI is issued, which confirms that the committee has approved the initial proposal. the institute has to create a deposit in the joint account of the university and the State government, after receiving the LOI. In Maharashtra, the deposit has to be of close to 10 crores. 
  • Once the deposit is placed, a committee is formed by the higher education ministry under the chairmanship of an existing or retired vice-chancellor with government officials. 
  • This committee conducts the first campus visit to validate the information that is present in the proposal. 
  • The committee drafts a report, which is later sent to the higher education ministry.
  • After the ministry approves the report, the proposal is moved to the Cabinet, and on getting approval from the cabinet, an act is formed by the higher education ministry and is presented in the Legislative Assembly of the State. 

college as a university

  • After the act is passed, it becomes an act by getting signed by the Governor of the State.
  • The date on which the act will come into force is announced in State Government’s official gazette. 
  • After the announcement, another committee is formed headed by the Principal Secretary and comprising of Secretary of Technical Education Secretary of Planning and Secretary Finance to do another campus visit validate all the remaining information. 
  • The last stage of the process is the announcement of the operational date of the university.

Sujata Mehta: What are the conditions that are to be fulfilled for registering a university?

Dr Sudhir Gavhane: These conditions vary from state to state. For example, in Maharashtra the conditions for registering a university are:

  • If the university is to be In a regional headquarters like Pune then the university should have a minimum of 10 acres of land.
  • If the university is to be at a district place then the university should have a minimum of  25 acres of land
  • The university should a minimum of Rs. 1lakh sq. ft construction.
  • The university should a minimum of Rs. 50 lakh investments in books
  • The university should a minimum of 5 PG programmes
  • Qualified teachers that can become research guides for students
  • Sponsoring body which can be a  Charitable trust, Educational Trust, A Private Ltd. Company

Sujata Mehta: Is there any difference in the government support if the sponsoring body is a company or a charitable trust or an NGO?

Dr Sudhir Gavhane: No, it is the same for all. There is no relaxation provided.  

Sujata Mehta: What major challenges did you face during this process?

Dr Sudhir Gavhane: During the process, there are not many challenges. If one fulfils all the requirements and conditions of the Higher Education Ministry and State Government and you have required infrastructure. The process becomes a smooth sail. But if one doesn’t have all the required infrastructure etc. Then the screening committee will discard the case almost immediately.

college as a university

Sujata Mehta: What are the major challenges new universities face?

Dr Sudhir Gavhane: There are approximately 333 State Private Universities, 993 Universities and 50,000+ colleges in India, thus the biggest challenges for a new university are:

  1. The cut-throat competition between universities. 
  2. Getting admissions is another big challenge for a new university since a new university has to create a brand name, a positive image and clientele which attracts students. Therefore, admissions are a big challenge for new universities.

New universities should focus on getting quality faculty that can become guides to the students and also create an ambience of research culture.

“Teaching and Research are backbones of every university”

Sujata Mehta: Every well-established college wants to become a university. What are the benefits of University over colleges?

Dr Sudhir Gavhane: The biggest advantage of a university is freedom. In university, management can create a curriculum, launch new programmes, explore new areas of technology and course. These different aspects attract more students looking to explore more options.

“Students and parents are becoming more choosy when it comes to courses”

Colleges turned universities have an advantage over new universities as they have a legacy attached to it. For example, we had a legacy of four decades that attracted students attracted towards us. However, universities like Ashoka University and Wipro University are new universities coming from corporates but because of the quality education they are able to create a mark in the higher education industry

“New Universities can also create a mark”

Sujata Mehta: What tips you want to give to the Colleges Core Team who wants to register themselves as University?

Dr Sudhir Gavhane: My first tip to the people who want to register themselves as a University is to start the process as soon as they can because it is a very long and extensive process. One should always dedicate enough time for research. 

The research phase should include studying other universities in the neighbourhood, state and internationally, study their programs, visions, missions, strategies etc.. Aspiring universities should also survey the students around the neighbourhood to understand what all courses attract them, what new courses they want etc. 

“Universities should have both Global and Local missions”

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