An Australian university, which had vehemently denied media reports of placing restrictions on Indian students last month, received official approval to establish a campus in Gujarat International Finance Tec-City (GIFT City).
The University of Wollongong (UOW) received licence approval to conduct courses in India after a meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and UOW Vice-Chancellor Professor Patricia M Davidson on May 12.
"We are delighted to receive the approval and plan to start our operations in GIFT City by the end of this year," Professor Davidson said in a university statement.
"I would like to thank the Australian government, Prime Minister Modi and his government for the support and bringing our mutual vision of providing high-quality Australian teaching and learning environment that UOW is known for to India," Davidson added.
As of 2023, more than 2,500 Indian students are enrolled at UOW in Australia, with business, engineering and information sciences the most popular degrees.
The country is reportedly set to enrol the highest number of Indian students ever, surpassing the previous high of 75,000 in 2019.
Davidson further said UOW aims to create a location for learning, research and industry collaboration that supports the mission of GIFT City, and provides an affordable Australian education within India, by a highly ranked and experienced global university.
UOW plans to commence at GIFT City later this year with a Graduate Certificate in Computing and a Master of Computing in the Finance domain, and then add a Master of Applied Finance and Master of Financial Technology (FinTech) in 2024.
This will be followed by Bachelors of Business and Computing Science in 2025, according to the University statement.
The University also plans to establish a Global Capital Markets Research Centre in its GIFT City location focussed on training PhD students and delivery of research with a focus on Indian capital markets.
For this, UOW said it has commenced work with the National Stock Exchange of India (NSE) and has in-principle support from the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) and Singapore Exchange (SGX).
The University will set the student fees at 50 per cent of those incurred by international students studying at UOW's Australian campus.
This will be supplemented by merit scholarships to ensure bright and capable students can study with us at GIFT City, the statement read.
"The 21st century is truly India's century, and we are proud to be part of its success story and its contribution to shaping a better world," UOW's Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Professor Alex Frino, said.
"India's young and expanding workforce and growing demand for expertly trained talent has provided a unique opportunity for UOW to invest its high-quality teaching and learning capabilities into the country and produce the skilled workforce of the future," Frino added.
An investigation by the Australian media last month said that UOW was among five universities that had placed a ban or restriction on students from some Indian states in response to a surge in fraudulent applications seeking to work, and not study, in the country.
Denying the claims, the UOW said in a statement that it "does not have any restrictions on student applications from India other than the standard entry criteria we apply to all international students and the requirements of the Australian Department of Home Affairs".
Instead of introducing restrictions, UOW said it has streamlined its application process for all international students, including Indian students, to speed up the turnaround time on their applications.
Last year, UOW had launched the Vice-Chancellor's Leadership Scholarship-India, which provides recipients with generous financial assistance, leadership training, dedicated academic support, community networking, and global mobility opportunities.
UOW has campuses in Dubai, Hong Kong and Malaysia, each employing over 200 academic staff and enrolling at least 3,000 students each, in addition to its Australian campuses.