New Delhi: The University Grants Commission (UGC) has asked all higher education institutes to create an active network of alumni, like the IITs and IIMs have, and seek their help for placements and funding for research and other activities.
In a letter sent last week, the UGC has asked the institutes to establish ‘Student Career Progression and Alumni Network’ to track their students after they finish their courses and establish active communication with them.
“Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) should have alumni associations as part of their organisational hierarchy. Universities and colleges should have a formally defined structure of governance for their alumni association that clearly specifies the role of stakeholders,” the UGC letter stated.
The Indian Institutes of Technology and the Indian Institutes of Management have a robust alumni network. The IITs are, in fact, slowly shifting towards an alumni-donation model to fund its various research projects, besides other activities.
Last month, IIT-Delhi had set up an ‘endowment fund’ of Rs 250 crore with the help of donations from alumni.
Some of the top private institutions like Birla Institute of Science and Technology also have a robust alumni network that helps it with donations.
The UGC wants to start a similar trend in other higher education institutions as well. The commission feels that it is good for institutions to stay in touch with their alumni who are holding important positions in government, judiciary, media, politics or those who have established businesses and can help the institutes financially.
UGC offers Rs 25 lakh to set up alumni wing
The UGC has also offered to provide seed funding of Rs 25 lakh to eligible institutions to establish and maintain an active alumni network. Among the conditions that will make institutions eligible for the funds are — at least five years of alumni information, regular engagement with alumni and ranking of the institutes.
“A notable activity of the alumni is providing donations to the university. The donations can be of any size and can be either directed towards a specific activity or to support a range of activities. Most universities that regularly solicit large donations are able to provide an income tax deduction to the donors,” the commission said in a policy document, which was sent along with the letter, to all the institutes.
In India, any amount contributed to the IITs and some other institutions as donation is eligible for 100 per cent tax deduction under the Income Tax Act.
The UGC also asked the institutions to keep in touch with their former students settled abroad. “The compliance of the university/colleges with the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) is a significant step in making overseas alumni donation possible,” it added.
A centralised database to store alumni information
Talking about placements, the UGC policy document stated that the alumni would be able to provide job opportunities to the students in their organisations or be able to use their contacts to provide jobs in other organisations as well.
The commission has asked universities to establish a centralised database where all information on their alumni will be stored. It also suggested establishing a cell that can help universities and colleges with alumni-related activities.