As per a recent news, the colleges in India receiving scores of 3.51 or more on a scale of 0 to 4, from National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC), or colleges that are accredited in three or more programmes with scores of 750 or more in every programme, by National Accreditation Board (NAB) would automatically become eligible for an autonomy status. The decision was taken on the recommendation of a NITI Ayog Committee.
That news got me thinking, do our students know about autonomous colleges and those that are not autonomous colleges. Do you know what is so different about being an autonomous college? There are many who are still not very sure of how differently these two academic bodies operate. Hence to help you understand better, here are few key differences between autonomous and non-autonomous colleges.

The Key Difference


In one of the interviews taken by the prominent newspaper ‘The Hindu’, B. Sadashive Gowda, principal, Vidyavardhaka College of Engineering, Mysuru was requested to elucidate the difference between autonomous and non-autonomous engineering institutions, to which he responded saying that autonomous colleges are granted the flexibility to design their own curriculum. That allows autonomous colleges to produce graduates to meet industry requirements.

In terms of flexibility, students of non-autonomous colleges are more relaxed, as the rules are set by the university and hence conducive.

Examination Pattern

The papers in an autonomous college are set by the faculty, and hence are quite predictable. Often this becomes the reason to study in the pattern or course elucidated in the classrooms.

However, such is not the case in non-autonomous colleges, as the question papers are set by the university committee. This is the reason why students are cautious and most of the times choose to study as per the syllabus provided at the beginning of the year, instead of only basing their studies on classroom teachings.

Admission Process

The other major difference between these two systems is their admission process. For an autonomous college, the decision of a student’s admission lies with the head of the college. Therefore, it is easy to get admission in an autonomous college.

The admissions of non-autonomous colleges are mostly based on entrance exams or on the merit system. Therefore, it is not that easy to get admission in these colleges.


There are both pros and cons in autonomous and non-autonomous colleges. Though autonomous colleges have greater responsibility, and therefore these institutions remain sensitive and alert to the needs of the students.

However, non-autonomous colleges carry with them years of reputation as they directly come under the deemed university’s jurisdiction, and hence have been preferred by many for long now.

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