25% Extra Seats for Foreign Students: UGC Plans to “Internationalize” Courses in India

Higher education institutes across India can now allocate 25% supernumerary seats to foreign students for UG and PG courses.

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Higher education institutes and universities will now be able to able to set up to 25% supernumerary seats for foreign students in undergraduate (UG) as well as postgraduate (PG) courses.

This decision was made after a University Grants Commission (UGC) meeting was held to discuss how they could internationalize the UG and PG courses in India. They also decided that international students won’t have to go through any sort of entrance tests to get admitted to these courses.

The supernumerary seats will be over the total sanctioned strength. These seats don’t include international students admitted through the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between other countries and the Indian government or institutions or through exchange programs. The concerning higher educational institutions will be able to admit international students using any form of entry qualification that they want. UGC or anybody recognized by UGC will determine the equivalence for this purpose. It can also be done by the country’s concerned regulatory bodies. 

The admission process for international students will be completely transparent. In case a seat remains unfilled in this category, it won’t be allocated to any students other than one from a foreign country. In this context, an international student is anyone with a foreign passport. The supernumerary seats in the institutes will be governed by their respective statutory bodies. Details regarding the admission process, number of seats in each program for international students, eligibility conditions, fee for the course, etc. will be available on the higher education institution’s website.

As per the data released by the Ministry of External Affairs, about 23,439 international students came to India in 2021. However, in pre-pandemic years, this number was a lot higher. About 75,000 students came to India in 2019 for higher studies. The internationalization of higher education helps integrate the intercultural and international dimensions in higher education and is also an important goal of the National Education Policy 2020.

By allocating the seats and issuing new guidelines for the admission process, IGC aims to facilitate a smooth admission of international students and create a favourable environment that attracts international students to the institutes of the country.