Rashtriya Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan (RUSA)

RUSA is a Centrally Sponsored Scheme (CSS), launched in 2013 aims at providing strategic funding to eligible state higher educational institutions. The central funding (in the ratio of 60:40 for general category States, 90:10 for special category states and 100% for union territories) would be norm based and outcome dependent. The funding would flow from the central ministry through the state governments/union territories to the State Higher Education Councils before reaching the identified institutions. The funding to states would be made on the basis of critical appraisal of State Higher Education Plans, which would describe each state’s strategy to address issues of equity, access and excellence in higher education.

The Rashtriya Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan is the central government’s contribution to further the promise held by the rich expanse of India’s state universities. The country’s future lies in empowering these campuses with all that it takes to enhance learning, better research and promote innovation. A centrally sponsored scheme, RUSA understands that sometimes the most important lessons of life are learnt outside the classroom. So whether it is upgrading libraries or computer laboratories, promoting autonomous colleges or clubbing them to consolidate their strength and forming cluster universities, this programme realizes that every institution holds the power to enrich lives through top-class education.

With universities, to prepare universe-ready scholars.


RUSA would create new universities through upgradation of existing autonomous colleges and conversion of colleges in a cluster. It would create new model degree colleges, new professional colleges and provide infrastructural support to universities and colleges. Faculty recruitment support, faculty improvements programmes and leadership development of educational administrators are also an important part of the scheme. In order to enhance skill development the existing central scheme of Polytechnics has been subsumed within RUSA. A separate component to synergise vocational education with higher education has also been included in RUSA. Besides these, RUSA also supports reforming, restructuring and building capacity of institutions in participating state.

The following are the primary components of RUSA that capture the key action and funding areas that must be pursued for the fulfilment of the targets:

  • Up gradation of existing autonomous colleges to Universities
  • Conversion of colleges to Cluster Universities
  • Infrastructure grants to Universities
  • New Model Colleges (General)
  • Upgradation of existing degree colleges to model colleges
  • New Colleges (Professional)
  • Infrastructure grants to colleges
  • Research, innovation and quality improvement
  • Equity initiatives
  • Faculty Recruitment Support
  • Faculty improvements
  • Vocationalisation of Higher Education
  • Leadership Development of Educational Administrators
  • Institutional restructuring & reforms
  • Capacity building & preparation, data collection & planning
Rashtriya Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan (RUSA)


The salient objectives of RUSA are to:

  • Improve the overall quality of state institutions by ensuring conformity to prescribed norms and standards and adopt accreditation as a mandatory quality assurance framework.
  • Usher transformative reforms in the state higher education system by creating a facilitating institutional structure for planning and monitoring at the state level, promoting autonomy in State Universities and improving governance in institutions.
  • Ensure reforms in the affiliation, academic and examination systems.
  • Ensure adequate availability of quality faculty in all higher educational institutions and ensure capacity building at all levels of employment.
  • Create an enabling atmosphere in the higher educational institutions to devote themselves to research and innovations.
  • Expand the institutional base by creating additional capacity in existing institutions and establishing new institutions, in order to achieve enrolment targets.
  • Correct regional imbalances in access to higher education by setting up institutions in unserved & underserved areas.
  • Improve equity in higher education by providing adequate opportunities of higher education to SC/STs and socially and educationally backward classes; promote inclusion of women, minorities, and differently abled persons.

In the relentless pursuit of excellence to
strengthen the core of our nation's universities

What led to the birth of RUSA, its promise, reason and potential and how this scheme is ever more important in steering state institutions in an ever-altering higher education landscape. Founded on the values of raising excellence and promoting equity, this scheme places prominence on making campuses world leaders in interdisciplinary collaboration, fostering innovation and engaging community participation.


Inclusiveness is the bedrock on which universities can build truly diverse classroom.


Opening the doors of higher education to all, irrespective of the socio-economic background.


Striving to achieve the gold standard in education by adopting innovating teaching-learning methods.


The future’s power is born out of experiment and the endless endeavour to discover.

RUSA aim to build a self-sustaining momentum that will push for greater accountability and autonomy of state institutions and impress upon them the need to improve the quality of education and infrastructure.

Focus on Quality and Research

The RUSA focuses on better quality of state higher education institutions. The aim is to achieve mass access to higher education with high quality standards. States must ensure that all their institutions adopt NAAC accreditation as the mandatory quality assurance framework, and simultaneously seek to upgrade the overall academic quality by implementing reforms.They will be encouraged to promote research and innovation in their institutions. Since research focus can be judged both from input efforts and outcome indicators, the SHEPS are expected to have a balanced appreciation of both aspects. States and institutions are expected to honestly declare their present status in this area and outline specific strategies for improvement, including the use of information and communications technologies (ICT). There is a need to improve resource allocation for universities to enable good quality research and innovation. Criteria such as the number of research publications, impact factors of journals in which papers are published, citations, the amount of research funding attracted, etc., should be considered for faculty promotions.

Norm-based and Outcome-dependent Funding 

The cornerstone around which RUSA is designed is that funding under it is norm based and future grants are outcome dependent. The central funding is strategic and based on SHEPs, which serve as a benchmark against which the performance of a state and its institutions is graded. Future funding is decided on the basis of past achievements and utilization of funds submitted to MHRD.

Incentivizing and Disincentivizing

RUSA incentivizes and disincentivizes state actions. Not only is compliance to rules, regulations and fulfilment of norms supported by incentives, but non-performance or non-fulfilment of prerequisites and norms invites reduced allocations for states and institutions. This is intended to make the scheme not only demand driven, but also competitive. States and institutions are encouraged to compete with each other in order to reap the benefits of competition-based formulaic grants.

Apolitical Decision Making

Another basic tenet of RUSA is that the decision making is done in an unbiased, apolitical and professional manner, on the basis of the SHEPs and the performance of the states on the predefined parameters. The process of decision making and its result are transparent and the methods impartial. It is expected that the states would also be as unbiased, apolitical and professional while planning and ushering governance reforms at their level. In order to effectively implement these reforms, the selection of leadership positions in state universities should take into account the imperatives of merit and performance


Autonomy is an indispensable condition for quality and accountability. RUSA envisages greater autonomy for institutions in terms of decision making. The institutions will have full liberty to plan specific interventions depending on their special needs and requirements. Some key concerns in enforcement of university autonomy are as follows:

Revisiting the acts

There is a need to revisit the acts of various state universities to see if there are some clauses detrimental to their autonomy.

Streamlining the recruitment process

Universities must have the autonomy to recruit the most competent faculty as per laid-down procedures and purely on the basis of merit.

Membership of governing bodies

A university is administered by its senior functionaries under the guidance of its statutory bodies such as the executive committee, syndicate, senate, etc. The persons to be nominated to these bodies must have specialized knowledge in the relevant disciplines and should not have conflict of interests in so far as decision making in the university is concerned. These bodies should predominantly consist of members from academic background.

Institutional leadership

It is the duty of the Vice Chancellor to safeguard the autonomy of the university. The increasing trend of appointing civil servants as heads of educational institutions needs to be reviewed. Special RUSA orientation programmes or conferences on the management of universities should be organized to enable the Vice Chancellors, Directors, Pro-Vice Chancellors, Deans and Heads of Departments to hone their management skills.

Disclosure-based Governance

Disclosure based governance must be followed by institutions with regard to their decisions and outcomes. RUSA envisages greater participation of all stakeholders, where the institutions are responsible for their quality not just to the regulatory authorities but also to the students, parents and the society. A policy of full disclosure and clean governance is the first step towards establishing such a system of higher education.

Equity-based development

Equity – based development initiatives must form an essential part of any development or expansion plans, both at the state and institution levels. Any growth in the higher education sector must create equal opportunities for women, disadvantaged classes and the differently abled. Also, development must have a greater focus on serving the rural and tribal areas. The plan appraisal process would take this aspect into account while deciding the allocations. Well-calibrated equity strategies must be built into the entire state planning process.