The following frequently asked questions are based on inquiries from the general public that have reached EQAR. The list of questions and the respective answers are updated as appropriate. The questions are broken down per topic.
What to find in the Register and in DEQAR
EQAR (European Quality Assurance Register for Higher Education) is the official register of quality assurance agencies operating in substantial compliance with the ESG.
DEQAR is the Database of External Quality Assurance Results produced by EQAR-registered quality assurance agencies. All EQAR-registered agencies can publish their reports in the Database. Participation in DEQAR is voluntary.
There can be several reasons why a certain institution or programme cannot be found in DEQAR:
- The institution/programme was externally quality assured by a legitimate and credible agency, but that agency is not registered on EQAR:
Even though part of the EHEA key commitments, registration on EQAR is voluntary for agencies. The agency might have never applied, withdrawn its application or been rejected.
Furthermore, quality assurance agencies from outside the EHEA cannot generally be expected to use the ESG and be registered on EQAR.
- The institution/programme was externally quality assured by an EQAR-registered agency, but the agency does not (yet) publish its QA Results in DEQAR: Participation in the DEQAR database is voluntary.
- The institution/programme was not externally quality assured by a legitimate and credible agency:
The reasons could be that the institution/programme was unable to meet the standards, but the reason could also be that no external quality assurance is mandatory in its system.
Consequently, the fact that an institution/programme is not in DEQAR does not necessarily imply a deficit in terms of its quality, credibility or legitimacy.
Application for inclusion on the Register is voluntary. Therefore, the fact that an agency is not included on the Register does not as such constitute any prejudice concerning the quality of its work, its credibility or legitimacy.
There might be several possible reasons for this:
- The QA agency that you are trying to find may not (yet) have applied for inclusion with EQAR;
- The agency may have applied and its application is currently considered by EQAR;
- The agency may have been rejected but is in the middle of the appeal process;
- The agency may have applied but withdrawn its application.
For reasons of confidentiality and fairness we cannot disclose or speculate about which of the reasons might apply to the agency in question. You may of course contact the agency itself in order to find out why they are not registered. It will be at the agency’s discretion what information to provide.
For reasons of confidentiality and fairness, EQAR does not discuss or speculate about the reasons for agencies from particular countries not being included on the Register (yet). See also question 2 for various possible reasons.
No, also non-European QA agencies can apply. They will, however, have to demonstrate that they operate in substantial compliance with the European Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance (ESG).
Questions regarding EQAR Membership (not to be confused with EQAR registration)
No, EQAR does not have associate, affiliate or similar membership status. Membership of the EQAR association is open to governments and stakeholder organisations represented in the official Bologna Process structures. Inclusion on the Register is open to quality assurance agencies for higher education.
Read more on the three categories of members.
Governmental Members are members of the EQAR General Assembly, which also includes the Founding Members (ENQA, ESU, EUA, EURASHE) and the Social Partner Members (BUSINESSEUROPE, Education International).
The General Assembly is EQAR’s supreme decision-making body and responsible for the overall governance of EQAR. It appoints all other statutory bodies (Executive Board, Register Committee, Appeals Committee), approves the annual accounts, participates in adopting policies and procedures for EQAR’s work, and discusses any matters of general concern, such as the external evaluation of EQAR requested by ministers.
Yes, governmental membership and inclusion on the Register are two different things. Any Bologna Process country can become a Governmental Member of EQAR, independent of whether or not the national quality assurance agency/-ies is/are included on the Register. The national agency/-ies of a country can apply for inclusion on the Register independent of whether or not their country is a member of EQAR.
Only states that are party to the European Cultural Convention are eligible for membership.
For more information on how to become a Governmental Member click here.
The membership fee amounts to 3 318€, 6 636€, 9 955€ or 13 272€, depending on the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and the GDP per capita according to the Fee Scale. Members receive an annual invoice for the membership fee.
Consult the EQAR membership fees [PDF, valid from 2018] for additional information.
The representative of a Governmental Member should be a ministry official. We recommend appointing the same representative(s) as for the Bologna Follow-Up Group (BFUG), which is the practice followed by almost all Governmental Members. For independence reasons the representative may not be a representative or staff member of a quality assurance agency.
Questions regarding the Application Process for quality assurance agencies
The Procedures for Applications stipulate that the external panel reviewing the applicant quality assurance agency should comprise of members that represent a broad range of expertise and posses sufficient knowledge, experience and expertise for their task.
The review panel must comprise of at least four persons. It must include at least one academic staff member of a higher education institution, one student of a higher education institution and one member from another country than the applicant’s.
The review panel members must be sufficiently independent and exercise their role with no conflict of interest.
Please note that groups of experts reviewing higher educations institutions or programmes on behalf of a quality assurance agency are addressed in ESG 2.4 and ESG 3.3.
Yes, it is expected that the external review report on which the application is based refers to the ESG. In the report, the external review team should set out clearly how it considers the applicant complies with the different standards.
If the report on the external review of your agency does not clearly relate to the ESG, we strongly recommend you consult with the EQAR Secretariat before submitting an official application.
Both Part 2 and 3 of the European Standards and Guidelines (ESG) stipulate principles that directly apply to quality assurance agencies. Thus, both parts have to be addressed in the self-evaluation report and the external review report. It’s important to also note that ESG 2.1 includes considerations on Part 1 of the ESG. The Register Committee’s interpretation of ESG 2.1 stipulates that agencies should systematically include all standards of Part 1 of the ESG in their criteria and procedures used to evaluate/accredit/audit institutions or programmes (while they may be addressed differently depending on the type of external quality assurance).
The structure of the report is the review panel’s choice, but it has to be ensured that all standards are explicitly addressed in the report.
It will be accepted if the core self-evaluation report is submitted; not all annexes, which might be very comprehensive, have to be translated and submitted.
If the Register Committee requires additional information to reach a substantiated decision, additional documentation including annexes (translated in English) might be requested to process the application.
The application fee will be invoiced to applicants after receipt of the external review report and is payable within 30 days.
The listing fee will be invoiced in case the application is successful and is also payable within 30 days from receipt of the invoice.
Applicants will receive a formal invoice for both fees, which contains the necessary bank details. Payments by credit card are unfortunately not possible.
The fees that applicants pay to EQAR are subject to value-added tax (VAT).
EQAR will not charge Belgian VAT on its invoices to applicants from EU countries holding a valid VAT identification number. Those applicants are, however, obliged to pay VAT in their country.
EQAR will charge Belgian VAT of 21% (as indicated in the fee table) to applicants from EU countries that do not hold a VAT identification number and applicants from all other countries.