The European Quality Assurance Register for Higher Education (EQAR) is the official register of agencies that have demonstrated their substantial compliance with the common framework for quality assurance adopted by the 48 member countries of the European Higher Education Area (EHEA), the Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance in the EHEA (ESG).

Role of EQAR

The guarantee of compliance with the ESG plays a significant role in improving trust among quality assurance agencies, facilitating the recognition of quality assurance decisions and reducing opportunities for “accreditation mills” to gain credibility. The recognition of credible agencies is meant to enhance the confidence of students, institutions, the labour market and society more generally in the quality of higher education provision in Europe.

Ultimately, the use of the ESG by quality assurance agencies also facilitates the (automatic) recognition of degrees across different EHEA members states. Since 2018, EQAR has made available and maintained a Europe-wide Database of External Quality Assurance Results (DEQAR) to enhance access to reports and decisions about higher education institutions and programmes that have been reviewed against the ESG by an EQAR-registered agency.

A number of countries use EQAR as a reference in their national legislation in order to recognise external quality assurance agencies and their results. These legal frameworks, for example, provide higher education institutions with the possibility to identify themselves a registered quality assurance agency that best suits the institution’s profile and meets its individual needs for external QA.

An overview with examples of different legal frameworks recognising the activity of EQAR-registered agencies within EHEA is available on EQAR’s website, under Mapping system openness to cross-border QA.

About this Guide

The Guide for Agencies addresses both new applicants, preparing an application for inclusion on the Register, and registered agencies, needing assistance in preparing a Substantive Change Report or planning their application for renewal of registration.

The Guide for Agencies explains the provisions of EQAR’s official documents (Statutes, Procedures for Applications, Appeals Procedure, Policy on the Use and Interpretation of the ESG, Code of Conduct, etc., see Table below).

Table 1: Overview of EQAR Documentation
Document                                 Content
Guide for Applicants Explanatory document, covering all relevant information for QA agencies
Statutes Organisational structure of EQAR and basic provisions
Procedures for Applications Formal rules and procedures governing the management of the Register
Use and Interpretation of the ESG Explain how the Register Committee applies and interprets the ESG
Code of Conduct Principles and rules for EQAR officials
Specific policies Addressing specific issues or circumstances, e.g. complaints, mergers, etc.

The Guide is updated as appropriate, based on the feedback received from quality assurance agencies and EQAR’s own experience in dealing with applications.

Readers are invited to make comments and suggestions for improvement of this Guide by writing to the EQAR Secretariat.