Learning account

  • The learning account is part of the Flemish higher education financing method.
  • The main idea is that you as a student are responsible for the success of your own study career.

On www.studentenportaal.be you can consult an overview of your learning account by using your electronic identity card and card reader or token.

For further questions, contact your study programme career coordinator or Student Affairs.

What is the learning account?

Once you’ve registered in an initial bachelor’s or master’s programme, you receive a ‘backpack’ with 140 credits: your learning account. You will use it, while studying. Or better: each course unit costs you credits. A year of fulltime study will cost you 60 credits.

  • As long as you have credits left in your backpack, you can go on studying.
  • Without credits, you can’t take up any more course units. This means you will probably have to put an end to your studies.

Each time you register for a course unit the number of credits that this course unit costs are subtracted from your learning account.

  • If you pass a course, you earn back the credits you invested. For the first 60 credits you’ve earned, you even get a bonus of 60 credits. All at once (see Mary’s story) or spread over several years’ time (see Thomas’s story).
  • If you fail a course, you lose those credits permanently.

When enrolling in an institution for higher education, you enter into a contract with a university college or university.

  • Most students choose a diploma contract: you use your learning account to enrol in a bachelor's or master's programme.
  • Another option is the credit contract. In this case you only use part of your learning account to take up specific courses. When you’re registered under a credit contract the 60-credit bonus (after a successful investment of your first 60 credits) isn’t given.
  • Finally, the examination contract allows you to participate in exams without taking any of the classes. For this type of contract you do not need your learning account.

Credits left?

  • Once you’ve obtained your (professional or academic) bachelor’s degree, you can use the remaining credits in your learning account to enrol in another master’s or bachelor’s programme.
  • If you’ve obtained a master's degree, then 140 credits are subtracted from your learning account.
  • If you still have credits left, then you can start a new study programme.
  • Or you can save up for a new study programme because for every year that you’re not enrolled in a university (college), 10 credits are added to your learning account. Until you reach the ceiling of 60: enough to start a standard study track in any study programme!

No more credits left?

Learning credit exhausted? You don’t have any credits left ? That means that you cannot take up any more course units. Usually this means you will have to put an end to your studies, unless:

  • you register for your first master’s programme (this is allowed, subject to payment of an additional study fee)
  •  you register for a preparation or transition year, a bachelor-after-bachelor, a master-after-master or an examination contract (no prob, no learning credit necessary)
  • you get an exceptional admission from your university (college) to complete your study career (this is possible, subject to payment of an additional tuition fee)

Overview of your learning account

Credits express the time you invest as a student in a study programme or a course unit.

  • A bachelor’s study programme amounts to 180 credits in total
  • A master’s study programme is 60 or 120 credits

This amount is the sum of credits corresponding to different course units: for example 6 credits for English, 3 for Developmental Psychology, 12 for your internship ...

1 credit means 25 to 30 hours of ' study ' in the broadest sense of the word: lessons, exercises, cramming ... For example: if the course unit 'English’ counts 6 credits, then you will need about 180 hours to master it.

On www.studentenportaal.be you can check your registrations and results by using your electronic identity card and a card reader or a federal token.

Standard Study Track (MDT): 60 credits per academic year

Universities and university colleges draw up study packages of 60 credits per academic year for every study programme. If you follow this ‘Standard Study Track’ of 60 credits per year and you succeed for all 60 credits every academic year, then you will receive your bachelor's degree (180 credits) in 3 years’ time. To complete a master’s study programme you need, depending on the study programme, another year (60 credits) or 2 (120 credits).

Example: Mary’s track

Every year Mary succeeds in earning back all the credits she invested. At the end of the first year she gets 60 credits back, plus a bonus of another 60. After three years she obtains her bachelor's degree. She still has enough credits left to start a new study programme.

Academic Year 2016-2017 2017-2018 2018-2019
Start 140 200 200
Credits invested -60 -60 -60
Credits acquiered +60    
Bonus at the start +60    
Balance 200 200 200

Another track: a harder year, a lighter year

If you failed a particular course unit, then you need to take that course unit again the following academic year. The credits you invested, are lost.

Example: Thomas’s track

Thomas succeeds to obtain 36 credits in his first year. This means he automatically wins them back double: the earned credits plus 36, part of the 60 credit bonus. He earns the rest of his bonus (24) in his second year. Because he fails a few course units every year, he needs to resume a number of them. Eventually he obtains his degree one year later than originally planned.

Academic Year 2016-2017 2017-2018 2018-2019 2019-2020
Start 140 152 155 140
Credits invested -60 -63 -60 -57
Credit acquired +36 +42 +45 +57
Bonus at the start +36 +24    
Balance 152 155 140 140

You can also choose to move a course unit and its credits to another academic year: to make your study track busier one year, but quieter the other.

You can also add additional courses  to your total package, but then you have to invest additional learning credit and enter into a credit contract with the university (college) for all the credits above 180.

Changing your study programme

Are you registered under a degree contract and would you like to put an end to your studies or to change your study programme? Register as soon as possible then for the new study programme.  This way you can still recover your learning credit.

  • First unsubscribe from your 'old' study programme, then register for your 'new’ one!
  • Check the conditions for reimbursement of the tuition fee, child benefit, study allowance ...  

Change of study programme and the recovery of your learning credit

You're a generation student (this is the first time you’ve registered in a Flemish higher education institution under a degree contract)

  • You remain registered for the course units for which you have taken final exams.
  • For the other course units:
    • you get all your credits back if you re-enroll for another study programme before 1 December
    • on top of the standard return of the learning credit, you get half of the other invested credits back (you don’t normally get refunds for these credits because the border date* has passed), if you re-register for another study programme between 1 December and 15 March
    • once the border date is passed, you lose these credits if you re-enroll after 15 March.

In all other cases:

  • You remain registered for the course units for which you have taken final exams.
  • For any other course unit you get the acquired credits back for which you deregister before the border date *. After that, you lose the credits.

*Border date = date before which you can unsubscribe for a course unit. This means that you can unsubscribe within the first 2 weeks of the period or the semester in which a course unit starts. For the courses of the first partial track that start during the first period or the first semester you get 4 weeks’ time to unsubscribe. You get your learning credit back.