An expert committee might have found 44 deemed universities "unworthy" for the status, but the remaining 86 may not be in safe zone.
This is because the government seeks to bring in a new regime, which will require such institutions to go through entry barriers to become universities or go back to the status of colleges.
Under the proposed restructured regime of higher education, the concept of deemed university could be a passe, HRD Minister Kapil Sibal has already said.
The HRD Ministry has initiated the process for setting up an overarching body in higher education. The proposed National Commission for Higher Education and Research (NCHER) will do away with the concept of deemed university.
The draft NCHER bill, which is under consideration of a task force, prescribes entry barriers for such institutions to become full-fledged universities.
The draft bill says that those deemed universities, which fail to get through the entry barriers, will eventually become colleges and will be affiliated to certain recognised universities.
However, there will be safety net for the students already enrolled in those deemed universities. The students of the past years will be awarded degrees by the same deemed university even after it loses the status, ministry sources said.
The step of the HRD Ministry assumes significance in view of the findings of P N Tandon committee, which said 44 deemed universities did not deserve the status.
The committee found 44 other such institutes having deficiencies and suggested that they should be given three years time to rectify. It found 38 others up to mark.
The committee on 'Renovation and Rejuvenation of Higher Education', headed by Prof Yashpal, has said majority of these institutes delude students and the status should be withdrawn if they fail to fulfil the accreditation norms in three years.
It said such institutions are not established with educational purpose.
The draft NCHER bill is under the consideration of the task force, which will hold regional consultations in several parts of the country with academicians and state governments.
There are 130 deemed universities of which about 60 came up in the last five years. The deemed university status is awarded under Section-3 of the UGC Act.