Over the years, colleges in India have become a dominant force, as institutions that provide high quality, multidisciplinary, as well as subject specific instructions, with a goal to nurture talent and inspire students intellectually. Colleges in India are either affiliated, with a senior university or so, or autonomous, with its own independent curriculum. Other than this, colleges can either be government sponsored or privately sponsored. There are a few other types of colleges and we will take a look at all of them below.

Affiliated colleges: These come in two types. Government sponsored, or privately funded. All affiliated colleges come under the jurisdiction of their parent university. The university sets the curriculum, the question papers and awards the degrees, the college simply provides instructors, and other infrastructure necessary to facilitate ideal learning environments. Most affiliated colleges in India offer courses in science, commerce and arts along with more specialized subjects such as management, technology, law and education. About 70% of all affiliated colleges are privately funded or funded by societies. Over 20% of the colleges are managed by their respective state governments. In recent times, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh have seen a rapid rise in the number of privately funded affiliate colleges.

Autonomous colleges: In 1996, the national policy of education promoted the idea of decentralization of educational administration, to encourage innovation, invariably setting higher standards for education. Autonomous colleges are colleges those colleges that have the freedom to set their own rules of curriculum, admission, examinations and mode of conduct. This curriculum is accepted by affiliated universities, which then award the students with the relevant degree. There are over a 100 autonomous colleges in India, affiliated with over 28 universities in 8 states.

Recognized Institutions: Other than to colleges, universities may also recognize certain research institutions as ideal centres for PhD research. Such institutions tie up with universities to offer PhD degrees. Some institutions go so far as to being associate departments to the universities and offer exclusive specialized courses. A good example is the Central Food Technological Research Institute of Mysore where the MSc course on food technology, is conducted on behalf of the Mysore University.

Self-financing Colleges: Some affiliated colleges are self-financing. Certain university departments have also introduced their own self-financing courses. These courses survive on the money they make by teaching the students, by charging large amounts of fees and other levies. Such colleges are sometimes criticized as being highly commercial endeavours, where the focus lies in making as much money as possible while the trend for a particular subject lasts. However not all self-financing institution indulge in such behaviour.

Tie-ups: A new trend in the education world, is universities entering in tie-up arrangements with other known institution for specialized courses. A popular example is the case of the Bharathiar University of Coimbatore which outsources its two year MSc in Software applications to SSI.

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