New Delhi: The government 'Institutions of Eminence' will be free to admit extra foreign students, fix their fees and ink collaborations with foreign varsities without prior government approval, according to the country's higher education regulator.

A total of 10 institutions will be declared as 'Institutions of Eminence'.

According to new guidelines framed by the University Grants Commission (UGC) for selection of 'Institutions of Eminence', they would be free to admit additional foreign students on merit subject to a maximum of 30 per cent of the strength of admitted domestic students.

"Academic collaborations with foreign higher educational institutions ranked in top 500 in global rankings would be exempt from government approvals except with institutions from negative list of countries determined by the Ministry of External Affairs/Ministry of Home Affairs," a senior UGC official said.

The institutions will also be free to offer new courses within a programme as well as to offer degrees in newer areas, besides flexibility in fixing course structure in terms of the number of credit hours and years to take a degree.

"The Institutions of Eminence shall have complete flexibility in fixing of curriculum and syllabus, with no UGC mandated curriculum structure. They will also have freedom to offer online courses as part of their programmes with the restriction that not more than 20 per cent of the course should be in online mode.

"However, this 20 per cent restriction would not preclude the institutions from offering certificate courses entirely through online mode," the senior UGC official said.

"These 10 institutions would be a mix of technical institutions, management and arts institutions and central universities. They should figure in the top 50 of the ranking in their category under the latest National Institution Ranking Framework (NIRF)," the official added.