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What are the advances of study funds or the funding for quality purposes?

In 2015, the basic study grant (Dutch: basisbeurs) was replaced by a loan system. This meant that extra money became available from 2018 onwards, which was able to be directed towards investments in the quality of education. This pot of money is also called advances of study funds or funding for quality purposes. Read more about the background of the quality agreements.

Who has established the system of quality agreements?

The Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, the Netherlands Association of Universities of Applied Sciences (Vereniging Hogescholen), the Association of Universities in the Netherlands (VSNU), the Dutch Student Union (LSVb), and the Dutch National Student Association (ISO) have each signed the sector agreements for WO and HBO. These contain agreements about a system of quality agreements. Read more about the parties involved.

To what ends can institutions spend the funding for quality purposes?

The institutions can spend the funding for quality purposes on the following themes:

  • More intensive and small-scaled education;
  • Educational differentiation;
  • Further professionalization of teachers;
  • Fitting and adequate educational facilities;
  • More and better guidance for students;
  • Study success.

Read more about the spending themes for the funding for quality purposes in the national starting document.

What is the NVAO?

The Accreditation Organization of the Netherlands and Flanders (Dutch acronym: NVAO) is a quality assurance organization which provides an expert and objective assessment of the quality of higher education in the Netherlands and Flanders, and which enhances the quality culture within educational institutions in the Netherlands and Flanders. The organization accredits existing and new educational programs and assesses the quality assurance of the institutions. In addition, the NVAO examines the plans for and implementation of quality agreements for each of the institutions. The NVAO provides advice to the minister based on this examination, who in turn makes a decision about granting the funding for quality purposes. Read more about the role of the NVAO on the NVAO-website, or proceed directly to the assessment framework.

When will the quality agreements at my institution be examined?

The first assessment takes place between early 2019 and early 2020, but it differs between institutions when exactly the assessment takes place. Ask your institution or a policy officer when the assessment will happen. Assessments for the recovery period, the assessment in 2022, or the evaluation will, together with the institutions, be made by the NVAO in due time.

Read more about the steps of the assessment.

What to do if we, as a participation council, are not satisfied with the implementation of the quality agreements at our institution?

Check our overview of the rights you have as member of participation for information and tips on how to approach this issue. Moreover, the NVAO assesses, among other things, whether the participation council is sufficiently involved in the development of the plans and the implementation thereof. During assessment periods, you may always voice your dissatisfaction. Of course, it is also possible to send us your questions using the form below.

The quality agreements run up until 2024, but what happens until then?

The chronology of the process around quality agreements is as follows: the institution develops a plan in consultation with the participation council, the NVAO assesses the plan, the minister provides a final assessment. In the case of a negative final assessment, this is followed by a recovery process. If the plan is approved, the institution is guaranteed additional budget for the period of 2021-2024, with a small exception for the year of 2024. The plans for these years can then be executed. For a complete overview of the process, please look at the timeline.

What happens to the quality agreements in case of a new government?

The quality funds will be continued and allocated on a structural basis from 2025 onwards. The participation council will still have the right to consent to new plans via the budget outlines, but unfortunately a lot will change too. To secure the quality of the education at your institution, we do advise you to get in contact with the Executive Board (College van Bestuur) to discuss the possibilities for close involvement. For more information and tips about this process, please check out our short guide to the quality agreements after 2024 to handle this well.

How can I find out about the course of the process at my institution?

You can request your institution’s planning at the board that is responsible, or the policy officer who engages in the quality agreements. Contact us via or fill in the form at the bottom of this page for any questions or help.

What is the outline of the budget?

Participation councils have consenting rights to the outline of the budget. What exactly is included in this outline differs between institutions. The sector agreements state that the quality agreements should always be included in the outline of the budget. This means you can always find the funding for quality purposes in the general budget of your institution or department, and sometimes also in a separate document about the spending of the funding for quality purposes. Read more about the spending themes and associated finances.