Stricter naming rules for academic institutions

Under a bill submitted for online consultation by Minister of Education, Culture and Science Jet Bussemaker, institutions will only be able to refer to themselves as ‘hogeschool’ or ‘universiteit’ (or equivalent translations of these terms) if they have been officially recognised as such. Degree titles like ‘Bachelor’ and ‘Master’ will also receive better protection.

The minister wishes to end the long-running practice of organisations presenting themselves as officially recognised institutions of higher education. Some have even gone as far as to offer degrees they are not entitled to award. Not only are they misleading students and employers, they are damaging the Netherlands’ world-renowned reputation for excellence in higher education.

‘These organisations are cashing in on the Netherlands’ hard-won name,’ said the minister. ‘They’re asking students to waste their time and money on qualifications that are worthless. This has gone on for too long already: sanctions are needed.’

Under the bill, only recognised academic institutions will have the right to call themselves ‘hogeschool’ or ‘universiteit’ and award the corresponding qualifications. Dutch-based branches of recognised institutions from the European Economic Area will also be able to use the terms. However, it must be clear who awards their degrees and what their parent institution is. Non-EEA institutions can only refer to themselves as ‘hogeschool’ or ‘universiteit’ if they are among the world’s best.