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Initial accreditation

Flanders rolled out an integrated external quality assurance system, comprising an institutional review, a review trail focused on the control of the quality assurance of programmes, and accreditation of a well-defined group of programmes. Under this system, new programmes requiring recognition are still subjected to external assessment and accreditation.

The university colleges and universities have agreed on a moratorium on new programmes for the academic years of 2014 to 2016. This means that no new bachelor’s or master’s programmes will be scheduled. This moratorium has been incorporated into the bill pertaining to Education Decree XXV, which is under parliamentary consideration. New postgraduate programmes (advanced bachelor’s and advanced master’s programmes) and new language-based modes of study will remain possible.

Following completion of the institutional reviews, the system will undergo a thorough evaluation. In 2018, this will determine the set-up of the higher education quality assurance and accreditation system to take effect in 2020.


NVAO will process the initial accreditation within a term of four months. Upon receipt of the draft NVAO assessment report, the institution may lodge an appeal (see below) or, in the event of a negative assessment report, withdraw its application. In the latter case, the institution may submit a new application within sixty calendar days after receipt of the negative assessment report, while retaining the positive decision on its efficiency assessment.

Following a positive decision by NVAO and recognition by the Flemish government, the new programme will be entered on the Higher Education Register (HOR) and may commence.


The new programme will be deemed to have been accredited up to and including the end of the second academic year following the end of the academic year in which the first cohort of students completed the full study load set down for the new programme (= programme length + 2 years).


The main documents are presented on the right side of this page.

Submitting applications

Applications shall be submitted in accordance with the procedural requirements as set down in the Regulations Regarding Procedural Requirements (see related ):

  • within 15 calendar days after receipt of a positive macro-efficiency decision from the Commissie Hoger Onderwijs [Higher Education Commission];
  • new application: within 60 calendar days after receipt of negative assessment report, retaining the positive macro-efficiency decision;
  • via email address (max. 30 Mb);
  • + via regular mail 7 copies of the application dossier.

Your application will be processed after receipt of payment. NVAO may send you a request for payment (please indicate so with your application). Please transfer the amount due, stating the name, degree, and qualification of the new programme, to:
Bank: KBC Bank
Account no.: 733-0292973-63
IBAN: BE40 7330 2929 7363
In the name of: NVAO, Parkstraat 28, 2514 JK The Hague, the Netherlands


The 2018 rate for initial accreditations by NVAO can be found in the overview and is variable according to the type of organization.

Other rates apply in the event of non-standard procedures. If NVAO declares the application inadmissible, the amount paid will be refunded. If an institution (temporarily) withdraws its application for initial accreditation, part of the amount paid will be refunded, insofar as the panel of experts has not yet embarked on its work. Upon re-submission, the rate will be due once more.

More information

Contact: Dagmar Provijn, policy advisor