Academic year

Period of one year that starts at earliest on 1 September and at latest on 1 October. This period ends on the day the next academic year starts again. The exact date is decided upon by the higher education institution.


Accreditation is a formal decision to recognise a programme by an independent organisation or agency which has verified whether this programme meets the predefined quality standards.

Accreditation framework

A framework set up by the NVAO in order to accredit the higher education programmes. The framework contains the quality standards and regulations about the way quality should be assessed. More information:


An Association is an official entity regulating the cooperation of a university and one or more university colleges.

These associations are responsible for the general research policy of the institutions of the association. They also have responsibilities regarding education at master's level at the university colleges. The partners in an association may transfer their powers regarding education, scientific research and social services to their Association.

Accreditation agency/organisation

An accreditation agency/organisation is an independent organisation that takes formal decisions indicating that programmes and/or institutions meet the organisation's predefined quality standards.

Access (to higher education)

The right of qualified candidates to apply and to be considered for admission to higher education. (See also Admission, red.)

(Council of Europe, Convention on the Recognition of Qualifications concerning Higher Education in the European Region, 1997, p. 3)