A law to reorganise the external quality assurance system for higher education was passed by the Austrian national parliament. The three existing external quality assurance agencies of Austria will be merged into one organisation, the new Agency for Quality Assurance and
Accreditation Austria (AQAA).
Under the new legislation, public universities in Austria will have to have their internal quality assurance system certified in a periodic external audit. For these audits, universities will be free to choose any EQAR-registered agency. Universities of applied sciences (Fachhochschulen) will also benefit from this freedom once they have been accredited by AQAA for two six-year terms.
Austria is the third European country (after Romania and Lithuania) to allow institutions to work with agencies from abroad for their general quality assurance obligations. In Denmark and Germany, external quality assurance procedures by EQAR-registered agencies can be recognised for joint programmes.