UGC Instructs Universities to Establish Up to 25% Additional Seats Exclusively for International Students


The University Grants Commission (UGC) has recently published guidelines for admitting international students and establishing supernumerary seats for them in undergraduate (UG) and postgraduate (PG) programs at Indian higher education institutes (HEIs). This move is aimed at enhancing the international appeal of Indian educational institutions. The guidelines were developed in September 2022 to streamline the process.

Supernumerary seats are additional seats allocated beyond the approved capacity of an institution, as sanctioned by the relevant authority and the government. These seats are intended to facilitate the inclusion of international students in Indian HEIs.

According to the UGC‘s directive, HEIs may add up to 25% more seats for international students beyond their approved enrolment capacity for both UG and PG courses. The institutions should decide to allocate these additional seats, following specific criteria and regulations from regulatory bodies, which consider factors such as infrastructure and faculty capabilities.

It’s important to note that this 25% increase does not apply to international students in exchange programs or covered under Memorandums of Understanding (MoU) between their institutions or governments. Institutions should distribute the extra seats proportionally across all departments and academic units.

The UGC stipulated that these supernumerary seats are exclusively for international students and should only be filled by candidates if occupied. Professional and technical programs’ respective statutory authorities will manage supernumerary seats, while PhD seats will be regulated under UGC guidelines.

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Additionally, the UGC has mandated that all relevant institutions set up an ‘Office for International Students’ to maintain detailed records of these students, including their countries of origin, programs of study, and duration. The goal is to create a welcoming environment to attract more international students to India, enhancing its status as a global education hub.

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