University setup can be very difficult, particularly because you will need to meet a variety of regulations intended to ensure you are providing your students with a quality education. Before you start your university, you will need to decide whether you will run a physical or virtual university. Starting a virtual university can be much less expensive in terms of overhead costs, but you will likely need advanced technical knowledge to setup and run your university.

Higher education in Pakistan is the systematic process of students continuing their education beyond secondary schooling, learned societies and multiple year colleges. The governance of higher education is maintained by the Higher Education Commission (HEC) in Pakistan which oversees the financial funding, research outputs and teaching quality standards in the country. In Pakistan, the higher education system includes the public, private and military universities, all accredited by the HEC. Since independence, new universities have expanded throughout the country with support provided by the University Grants Commission (UGC), which had been an autonomous institution of recognising universities until 2002 when it was preceded by the Higher Education Commission. Pakistan produces approximately 445,000 university graduates and 12,000 computer science graduates annually.

Zafar & Associates-LLP can assist in establishing a new university in Pakistan. It is a multi-step process which involves compliance with the legal formalities and through the guidelines provided by the Higher Education Commission (HEC) in Pakistan.


The first step to establish a new University is to fulfil the legal formalities by registering under the most appropriate Law of the Companies Ordinance/Societies Registration Act/Trust Act as a Foundation/Society or a Trust constituted.

*This formality is not required in case the institution is desired to be established in the public sector.


Once the applicant is registered under the relevant law, the second step is to submit a comprehensive feasibility report in accordance with the General Institutional Requirements Proforma (Form PU-01) along with a non-refundable bank draft/pay order of Rs.20,000/- (Subject to Change) in the favour of the Higher Education Commission as a fee for the evaluation of the viability report.

The application will be submitted to the Chairman, HEC (five copies + one soft copy)


Once the documents are submitted by the applicant institution, the HEC will decide whether the application is prima facie potential enough to consider. If the Commission finds that there is a prima facie case for further consideration, the feasibility report will be carefully scrutinized by a panel appointed by the HEC.


If the feasibility report is accepted by the HEC, the HEC will appoint an Inspection Committee which will conduct an initial site visit of the possible location of the institution, its infrastructure and available facilities. The purpose of this visit is to ensure that the applicant is capable to run the academic programmes. An inspection fee of Rs. 30,000/- (Subject to Change) shall be charged, which will be payable in advance through a non-refundable bank draft/pay order in the name of the HEC by the institution concerned. The visit will include meeting with administrators, teaching staff, students and support services staff.


The findings of the Inspection Committee will be reported the HEC. If the report is satisfactory, the draft charter 4 based on the Federal Universities Ordinance (FUO), 2002 of the HEC as contained in this document will be vetted by the HEC. The HEC will recommend the case for grant of Charter to the Federal Government or the Provincial Government, as the case may be.


Charter will be granted subject to the jurisdiction either by the Parliament/President of Pakistan or a Provincial Assembly/ Governor of a province, as the case may be.


  • That subject to the satisfaction of HEC, the institution is financially stable and has the ability to sustain a regular functioning on a long-term basis;
  • That the financial resources of the institution are sufficient to enable it to make due provision for its continued maintenance and efficient working. For this purpose, the sponsor shall be required to create a non-transferable Endowment Fund in the name of the Society or Trust, as the case may be. Endowment Fund shall be invested in the name of the institution or university as under:


Endowment Fund (Secured in the name of Trust/ Society)Rs.50.0 million (not applicable in case of public sector university)
Tangible assets in the form of land/building etc.Rs.100.0 million
Working CapitalRs.50.0 million (not applicable in case of public sector university)
Total:Rs.200.0 million

Table: New University (Subject to change)


  • Applicants will apply to the Provincial Educational Department. In case the applicant is located in the federal territory, the application shall be made to the HEC;
  • Each Provincial Government will act according to the Cabinet Criteria for evaluation and grant of charter. The HEC is usually consulted by the Provincial Governments the whole process. For this reason, the clearance by the HEC will help in facilitating the grant of charter;
  • All the formalities and the requirements mentioned above are outlined in the General Institutional Requirements Proforma in Forms PU-01 and PU-02 and PI-02;These guidelines pertain to registration, availability of infrastructure and adequate financial resources, proposed programme of study, development of academic programme, teaching staff, admission criteria, fee structure, quality assurance mechanism, student supervision, assessment and examination etc. The main points of the criteria and requirements are highlighted for information of the entrepreneurs.
  • The copy of the registration deed along with a Memorandum of association will be supplied to examine the objectives and credentials of the members. A brief profile of each member of management should also be provided;
  • The applicant must apply to the HEC and submit 5 copies of the feasibility report including the soft copy in accordance with the General Institutional Requirements Proforma as per Form PU-01; and
  • Institutional and academic:
    • That the site selected for the institution must be suitable from academic point of view. Sustainable physical viability, availability of water, electricity, fuel gas, telephones, building materials, furniture and labour for construction etc. must be ensured;
    • That the building in which the educational institution is to be located must be suitable, and that provision will be made in conformity with the statutes and the regulations for a) the residence of students, not residing with their parents or guardians, in the hostels established and maintained by the institution, b) the supervision, physical and general welfare of students;
    • That the HEC shall satisfy itself that the Body has the physical, human and financial resources to establish a viable institution;
    • In case of a university, the sponsor shall have to make available at least 10 acres (3 acres in city and 7 acres on city fringes) and in case of an institute at least 3-1/3 acres of land, depending on the location having potential for further development. Virtual universities, however, shall be excluded from the condition of land;
    • Any degree awarding institution of higher education having four or more departments will be eligible for title of a university. Any institution having less than four departments will be eligible for grant of charter as a degree awarding institute;
    • Particular criteria/norms in respect of various aspects of setting up a new university or an institution, such as, departments, teaching and non-teaching staff, lecture halls, libraries, laboratories, internet, hostel, composition of Board of Governors etc. shall be as detailed at Form PU-02 and PI02;
    • That in drawing up the organizational structure of the institution (into faculties, departments etc.), the standard and quality of teaching and efficiency of the system must be ensured;
    • That an appropriate regulatory framework and mechanism is provided for regulating academic and administrative matters of the institution;
    • That the educational institution has framed proper rules regarding the efficiency and discipline of its staff and other employees;
    • That the strength and qualifications of teaching and other staff, and the terms and conditions of their service are adequate;
    • That provision has been made for library and laboratory facilities and other practical work as detailed in Form PU-02 and PI-02;
    • That at least 10% of students be granted fee exemptions and scholarships on need basis;
    • That 10% of the institutional budget is specified for research;
    • That where an educational institution desires to add to the courses of instruction in respect of which it has been approved, the procedure prescribed for accreditation shall, as far as possible, be followed;
    • The powers to grant affiliation to any institution shall be available to a University which has built in quality criteria, judged by the HEC;
    • That permission granted shall be restricted to a specified place and a particular course/degree. No sub-campus, branch or outpost shall be established or franchised without the prior approval of the HEC; and
    • Campuses located in one city of a private university/ institution will be considered collectively as one unit for the application of the criteria. However, the campus of a private university/institution located in other cities would be treated as a new institution and the same criteria will be applicable to each campus.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *