Only registered higher education institutions are allowed to organise bachelor's and master's programmes. There are two types of registered institutions, the statutory registered higher education institutions and the registered institutions.
These institutions are the traditional higher education institutions and were already recognised by the Flemish education authority before the introduction of the European (Bologna) reforms in higher education in 2003. All these institutions receive public funding for their education and research.
Universities, university colleges and the postgraduate training institutions are all statutory registered higher education institutions.
A special registered higher education institution is the transnational University of Limburg (tUL). This institution was founded by treaty between the Netherlands and Flanders, Belgium. The university is a co-operation between the University of Hasselt (Belgium) and the University of Maastricht (the Netherlands).
An Association is an official entity regulating the cooperation of a university and one or more university colleges. The partners may transfer their powers regarding education, research and social services to this Association.
Registered institutions are institutions that have successfully gone through a registration procedure and are officially registered by the Flemish government.
The registration procedure includes proving financial solvency and setting up cooperation agreements with a statutory registered institution to guarantee students finishing their studies in cases where an institution halts its activities (e.g. bankruptcy).
Only after being registered, can these institutions get their programmes accredited by the NVAO.