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Initial Accreditation

Institutions that are recognised by the Dutch Minister of Education, Science and Culture are eligible for initial accreditation of their programmes.

At the same time programmes can submit an application for macro efficieny of higher education to CDHO (this procedure is not applicable to private higher education institutions, recognised private higher education institutions and programmes within publicly funded institutions that do not require public funding for the programme). The risk of a negative efficiency advice while the NVAO-procedure runs (with the associated cost) remains.

The NVAO assessment takes place via a "limited framework for initial accreditation" or "extensive framework for initial accreditation" (see Frameworks/documents). If the institution has an institutional audit, new programmes are assessed through the "limited framework for initial accreditation" (does not apply to candidate-legal entities for higher education).

Institutions that do not have a positive decision for the institutional audit a mid-term assessment of the new programme is necessary after three years (WHW, article 5a.10a, paragraph 4).


The accreditation term for an initial accreditation assessment takes up to six years. The NVAO may decide to issue a positive decision "with conditions" of up to two years.

NVAO handles the initial accreditation application within six months. Upon receipt of the draft decision by the NVAO, the institution may appeal (see below).  When the decision about the new programme is positive, the institution can register the programme in CROHO (the official national higher education register).


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

Submitting applications

  • institutions are asked to indicate which domain of the Central Register for Higher Education Programmes (CROHO) they find suitable for the new programme
  • via email address (max. 30 Mb)
  • + by email 7 copies of the application dossier


In 2019 NVAO charges 18,700 euros for an initital accreditation assessment. If the assessment includes a distinctive quality feature the costs are 21,400 euros and 18,700 for a separate assessment.

Different rates apply to different procedures. The cost for foreign visits or the use of external experts, advice or additional requirements are additionally invoiced.

More information

NVAO Communication the Netherlands