Institutions that are recognised by the Dutch Minister of Education, Science and Culture are eligible for initial accreditation of their programmes.
The NVAO assessment takes place via a "limited framework for initial accreditation" or "extensive framework for initial accreditation". If the institution has an institutional audit, new programmes are assessed through the "limited framework for initial accreditation" (this does not apply to candidate-legal entities for higher education).
At the same time programmes can submit an application for macro efficieny of higher education to CDHO (in Dutch: Commissie Doelmatigheid Hoger Onderwijs) (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.
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. When the decision about the new programme is positive, the institution can register the programme in the official national higher education register (in Dutch:Centraal Register Opleidingen Hoger Onderwijs - CROHO).
In 2023 NVAO charges 22,500 euros for an initital accreditation assessment. If the assessment includes a distinctive quality feature the costs are 22,500 euros and 22,500 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.
Institutions that hold a positive or conditionally positive institutional audit decision may use the framework for limited programme assessments. Other institutions must use the extensive framework. The frameworks are listed at the bottom of this page.
When applying for accreditation, institutions are required to list all the specialisations, modes of study, locations, and statutory requirements associated with the programme in question.
Yes, it may. See the information on distinctive features provided on this page.
An institution is free to withdraw its application at any time during the assessment procedure, up until the day on which NVAO has taken a final decision in the manner stipulated in the General Administrative Law Act. Under the European Standards and Guidelines, NVAO is required to publish all the assessment reports, including those holding a negative conclusion. The administrative process commences upon the panel chair’s submission of the advisory report to NVAO. In all cases, this leads to publication of the advisory report. Should an institution withdraw its application before the panel chair submits the advisory report to NVAO, then NVAO will not publish the report.
Panel chairs are trained in accordance with the NVAO requirements. During preparatory consultations, the process coordinator explains the assessment framework, the assessment procedure, and the attitude expected of panel members during the interviews. Furthermore, the process coordinator ensures calibration within the panel by going over the interpretation of the standards, conclusions, and assessment rules.
Prior to the consultations, the panel reads the information dossier submitted by the programme. During the consultations, the panel members share their first impressions, formulate questions for the site visit, and agree on their approach to the site visit.
Within the panel, judgements are formed on a peer-by-peer basis. Equal justice is done to the various perspectives of quality represented on the panel, including the student perspective. In its judgements, the panel strives for consensus.
Yes, institutions are free to have programmes accredited by NVAO while simultaneously applying to the CDHO for a macro-efficiency decision. However, this entails the risk of a negative efficiency recommendation while the NVAO procedure is already under way (with the associated costs).
The CDHO compares the proposed name of the programme to the names commonly borne by similar programmes in the sector. The outcome of this comparison is set down in the recommendation to the Minister of Education. In the initial accreditation procedure, NVAO subsequently verifies whether the name corresponds to that of similar programmes, taking account of the CDHO recommendation. NVAO further assesses whether the name of the intended programme properly covers its contents. Ergo, the CDHO advises on the chosen name, while the ultimate decision is up to NVAO.
In the Netherlands and Flanders, the board of an institution may appeal a (draft) NVAO decision.