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Ishita Ranganath|Mar 22, 2023
NEW DELHI: A new non-profit company set up by the Delhi University (DU) will have the authority to mobilise and manage the DU Endowment Fund, enter into agreements with government and private bodies, purchase and sell properties, and release scholarships for needy students.
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The Friends of DU company, registered by the Delhi University as a non-profit company in July 2022 has changed its name to the University of Delhi Foundation.
The company was formed in the hopes of raising funds to support the Delhi University.
According to an Executive Council agenda, the company will work on “income generation activities” and will help to “build and support the DU Endowment Fund” or similar funds through fund mobilisation through donations from alumni, well wishers or other means.
The company will also be responsible for managing, monitoring and even investing these funds. It will employ financial, legal or technical advisors and can set up branches outside India.
The company can also apply for funds and grants from the government, public companies, private companies, corporations, etc. It can enter into agreements with institutions, companies or corporations within or outside India.
The company can also purchase or take on lease any land or build buildings as it deems fit. However, the company cannot sell, lease or transfer any of its assets “without prior written consent from University of Delhi”.
The company will also “extend financial support to needy students” through “award of scholarships or tuition fee waiver”. It will also support operating expenses of the university such as developing centres of excellence, new centres, new programmes of study, etc.
The initiative to form such a company for income generation had met with criticism from teachers who said that this will lead to the commercialisation of the university. Teachers also said that this move will make the Academic Council and the Executive council, the top decision making bodies of the university, obsolete.
“Name change from 'Friends of DU' to 'DU Foundation' doesn't change it to be an enemy of DU. Its shareholding makes Academic Council and Executive Council redundant and VC-Registrar owners. Read it with a HEFA Loan of Rs 1,000 crores and the design for corporate take over becomes clear,” said Rajesh Jha, former member of the DU Executive Council.
University officials across India have lamented that they have been receiving less grants from the government. DU, in a letter to the education ministry in September 2022, had said that it “has not received sufficient grants” from the University Grants Commission (UGC) for infrastructure development so much so that it could not even purchase one lab equipment .
Although the higher education outlay has increased in the Union Budget 2023, allocations toward interest subsidy, contribution for guarantee funds and scholarship for college and university students have dropped to zero from Rs 1,400 crore and Rs 252.85 crore.
The Higher Education Finance Agency (HEFA), the central government’s lending programme for improving infrastructure in universities, has also been allocated zero funds in this year’s budget.
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