Only 10 colleges from the state have applied for autonomy to the University Grants Commission (UGC) in the past one year. There are more than 3,000 colleges in Maharashtra.
At present, only around 20 colleges of the 350-odd autonomous colleges across the country are from Maharashtra. Tamil Nadu has the greatest number of autonomous colleges, with around 150, followed by Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka.
"This (Maharashtra's figure) is low compared to the size of the state in the field of higher education," said G Srinivas, joint secretary of the UGC's Pune and Hyderabad regional centres, on the sidelines of a two-day principals' conference on Sunday.
"There is not much interest in autonomy from Maharashtra, there is a lot of bitterness and opposition due to several misapprehensions."
While the University of Mumbai has more than 600 affiliated colleges, only four institutions have gained autonomy in the past two years.