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Don’t be fooled: A student’s guide to identifying fake universities in India

Online Learning

Blog Date
March 15,

Earning a degree is a significant investment of time and money. With the growing importance of higher education, unfortunately, so do fake universities. These institutions offer bogus degrees that hold no value, jeopardizing your future career prospects.

This blog empowers you, the student, with a clear checklist to identify fake universities in India, based on the official guidelines from the University Grants Commission (UGC). During the time of online degree programs, it is imperative for each students to use this checklist before enrolling in a program.

The red flags: Identifying fake universities

Here’s what to watch out for:

  1. Non-recognition by UGC: Every legitimate university in India must be recognized by the UGC. Check the official UGC list of recognized universities. If the university you’re considering isn’t listed, it’s a major red flag. 
  1. Check out the list of fake universities on UGC portal: UGC has compiled full list of fake universities on its website. On this page, you will get state-wise details of fake universities. If the university you are planning to take admission in this list, please stop further processes. 
  1. Unrealistic promises: Beware of universities promising instant admissions, guaranteed placements, or degrees without rigorous coursework. Legitimate universities have established admission processes, academic standards, and placement processes. 
  1. Misleading website and infrastructure: A professional website with clear information about faculty, courses, and accreditation is a good sign. Be wary of poorly designed websites with limited information or those claiming affiliation with prestigious institutions they’re not associated with. If possible, visit the university physically. A dilapidated campus or lack of proper infrastructure can be a warning sign. 
  1. Unconventional modes of communication: Legitimate universities typically have official communication channels like email addresses with their domain name. Beware of universities relying solely on phone calls or text or WhatsApp/Telegram messages for communication. 
  1. Exorbitant fees and payment methods: While costs vary, be wary of universities demanding exceptionally high fees or pressuring you into unusual payment methods, like cash deposits. 

If you would like to know more about the higher education in India, read this insightful blog on the state of higher education in India.

Beyond the checklist: Additional tips 

  • Research the faculty: Look for universities with qualified and experienced professors with published research. 
  • Check student reviews: While online reviews can be subjective, reading student testimonials can offer valuable insights. 
  • Contact the UGC directly: If you have any doubts, reach out to the UGC helpline or email them for verification. 
  • Use search engines or social media: You will get more details related to the universities on search engine such as Google, Bing, Yahoo etc. Use the search terms such as “is the xyz university legit” or “value of xyz university”. This will give you thousands of responses from various sources, including forums such as Quora, aggregators, social media posts, YouTube videos and many more. 

Are online programs from Indian universities fake? 

No, not all online programs from Indian universities are fake. However, there are some fake universities operating in India, so it’s important to be cautious before enrolling in an online program. Here are the tips for choosing legitimate online programs: 

  • UGC Regulations: Since 2020, India allows recognized universities to offer online degrees under regulations set by the University Grants Commission (UGC). These universities must meet specific criteria like accreditation and ranking. 
    • Verification: Ensure status of Higher Educaton Institutions (HEIs) at respective UGC pages. UGC has issued a public notice with precautions to take before admitting to online mode – 
  1. Recognition status of HEIs: The year-wise and academic session-wise status of HEIs recognized to offer programs through Open and Distance Learning mode and/or Online mode is available on UGC website
  1. ii) Entitlement status of HEIs: The list of HEIs Entitled to offer programs in ODL mode and/or online mode with names of programs is available on UGC-DEB website
  1. iii) Please read notifications at Notice Board before taking admission. The notifications can also be accessed here as well. 
  • Check university website: Look for information on the university website about the online program, including accreditation details and faculty credentials. For example, Online Manipal is the digital home of Manipal Universities, which features online programs offered by the prestigious universities under Manipal group. On this website, you will get all details regarding each program including fees, eligibility, accreditations & rankings, scholarship details, besides a large resource of blogs. 
  • Reviews: Research online reviews (with caution) on platforms known for reliability. Look for consistent themes rather than individual experiences. 

Check out: How worthwhile is Online Manipal for online education? 

Additional resources: 

Remember: Don’t be afraid to ask questions! A legitimate university will be happy to address your concerns and provide clear information. 


In conclusion, the ever-expanding online education landscape in India offers exciting possibilities for students seeking flexibility and convenience. However, staying vigilant against fake universities disguising themselves is crucial. By wielding the information in this blog and conducting thorough research, you can confidently embark on your online learning journey with a recognized university and a legitimate degree program. Remember, a little extra effort now can safeguard your educational investment and open doors to a brighter future. Let’s work together to ensure online education empowers students, not exploits them. 


Information related to companies and external organizations is based on secondary research or the opinion of individual authors and must not be interpreted as the official information shared by the concerned organization.

Additionally, information like fee, eligibility, scholarships, finance options etc. on offerings and programs listed on Online Manipal may change as per the discretion of respective universities so please refer to the respective program page for latest information. Any information provided in blogs is not binding and cannot be taken as final.

  • TAGS
  • online education in India

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