The following criteria are considered for identification of institutions for grant of autonomy, namely: academic reputation and previous performance in university examinations and its academic/co-curricular/extension activities in the past; academic/extension achievements of the faculty; quality and merit in the selection of students and teachers, subject to statutory requirements in this regard; adequacy of infrastructure, for example, library, equipment, accommodation for academic activities, etc.; quality of institutional management; National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) accreditation of ‘B’ grade or above; financial resources provided by the management/state government for the development of the institution; responsiveness of administrative structure and motivation and involvement of faculty in the promotion of innovative reforms etc.
As per the latest XIIth plan guidelines, once a college attains the status of an Autonomous College, it is entitled for the following privileges: have freedom to determine and prescribe its own courses of study and syllabi, restructure and redesign the courses to suit local needs; prescribe rules for admission in consonance with the reservation policy of the state government; evolve methods of assessment of students’ performance, the conduct of examinations and notification of results; use modern tools of educational technology to achieve higher standards and greater creativity; promote healthy practices such as community service, extension activities, projects for the benefit of the society at large, neighbourhood programmes, etc.
The scheme of Autonomous Colleges is being implemented by the University Grants Commission (UGC) to provide autonomy to select colleges.
As on date there are 487 autonomous colleges (affiliated to 93 universities) in 24 States /Union Territories in the country (list is available at http://www.ugc.ac.in/ oldpdf/colleges/ autonomous_colleges-list.pdf).