Learning account

  • The learning account is part of the financing method for higher education.
  • The main idea is that, as a student, you also bear responsibility for the success of your studies.

You may consult the status of your learning account on www.studentenportaal.be by logging in with your electronic ID card and card reader or your federal token.

If you have further questions, please contact the Study Programme Career Coordinator.

What is the learning account?

When you start with higher education, you receive a so-called ‘backpack’ containing 140 credits: this is your learning account. You use up these credits as you progress with your studies. Or rather: you invest them in your studies, course unit per course unit.

  • As long as you still have credits left in your ‘backpack’, you can continue studying further.
  • If your credits are finished, you have no more credits to invest. Usually, this also means that you have reached the end of your study programme.

With each enrolment, the number of credits for which you enrol are deducted from the learning account.

  • If you are registered with a diploma contract and you succeed for a course unit then you earn back your credits. And what’s more: the first 60 credits you earn back are doubled. You receive an extra bonus of 60: all at once (cf. Marie’s story) or spread over several years (Thomas’ story).
  • If you fail, you lose your credits permanently.

Studying in higher education means that you enter into a contract with a university college or university.

  • Most students opt for a diploma contract: you use your credits to obtain a Bachelor's or Master's degree.
  • Another option is the credit contract, in which case you use the credits in your learning account to register and pass for a limited amount of specific course units only. If you are registered with this contract, you do not receive the bonus 60 credits if you pass. In the course catalogue (ECTS sheets) you can find out for which course units this is possible.
  • Finally, the exam contract allows you to take exams without attending classes. No credits are deducted from your learning account. In the course catalogue (ECTS sheets) you can find out for which course units this is possible.

Do you still have credits left?

  • If you successfully obtain a (professional or academic) Bachelor's degree, you may use the balance to obtain a Master's or another Bachelor's degree.
  • If you successfully obtain a Master's degree, 140 credits are deducted from your learning account.
  • If you still have credits left, you may start following a new study programme with these.
  • For each year that you’re not enrolled in higher education you receive 10 credits, until you reach the ceiling of 60 credits: enough to re-enrol in a standard study track of any bachelor’s programme (once).

Are your credits finished?

If your credits are finished, it means that you have no further credits to use for your studies.

Usually, this also means that you have reached the end of your study programme, unless:

  • You enrol for your first Master's programme (possible subject to the payment of additional tuition fees)
  • You enrol for a preparatory or transition year, an advanced Bachelor’s programme, an advanced Master’s programme or an exam contract (possible since no credits are required for this)
  • You receive special permission from your university college or university to finish your learning path (possible subject to payment of additional tuition fees).
  • You’re enrolled in an HBO5-programme (European Qualification Framework Level 5) and want to re-enrol in a bachelor’s programme when you have saved up enough credits again.

Calculate your learning account

Credits give you an idea of the amount of time you invest in a study programme or a course unit (class).

  • A bachelor’s programme consists of 180 credits
  • A master’s programme of 60 or 120 credits

These numbers are the sum of all the course unit’s individual credits: e.g. 6 credits for English, 3 for developmental psychology, 12 for your internship …

One credit should stand for 25 to 30 hours of ‘study’ in the broadest sense of the word: taking classes, doing exercises, cramming … If the course unit ‘English’ for example is 6 credits, then you will need about 180 hours to master it.

On www.studentenportaal.be you can check your enrolments and results with your electronic id-card and a card reader or a federal token.

Standard learning path: 60 credits per academic year

In higher education, study packages of 60 credits are compiled for each study programme per academic year. If you follow this learning path and obtain a pass mark for all 60 credits per academic year, you will be able to obtain your Bachelor's degree (180 or 240 credits) in 3 or 4 years. After this, for your Master's degree, you will still need 1 year (60 credits) or 2 years (120 credits), depending on the study programme.

Example: Marie’s learning path

Each year, Marie obtains a pass mark for all used credits. Hence, at the end of the first year, she recovers all 60 credits used, plus a bonus of 60 credits. After 3 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
Used credits -60 -60 -60
Obtained credits +60    
Bonus at the start +60    
Balance 200 200 200

An alternative learning path: a heavier workload in one year in exchange for a lighter workload in another year

If you have not passed a certain course unit, you are obliged to carry that course unit over to the next academic year. But you lose the credits used for this course unit.

Example: Thomas’ learning path

Thomas obtains a pass mark for 36 credits used in the first year. Hence, he immediately gets back double the credits: the credits used plus an additional 36 credits, as part of the bonus of 60 credits. He earns the rest of the bonus (24 credits) in his second year. Since he has some failed course units each year, he has to retake a number of these units each time. Eventually, he obtains his degree with a year's delay.

Academic Year 2016-2017 2017-2018 2018-2019 2019-2020
Start 140 152 155 140
Used credits -60 -63 -60 -57
Obtained credits +36 +42 +45 +57
Bonus at the start +36 +24    
Balance 152 155 140 140

You are also free to opt for transferring a course unit with its associated credits to another academic year: in this way, you make your learning path heavier in one year and lighter in another.

You may also expand your total package with extra course units, but for this you have to use extra credits as well as conclude a credit contract for all credits above 180.

Changing your study programme

If you are enrolled under a diploma contract and you wish to stop studying or decide to reorient yourself (i.e. change your study programme), you must re-enrol as soon as possible for the new study programme, so that you can still recover the credits in your learning account.

Recovery of credits if you change your study programme

You are a first-time college student (enrolling for first time in Flemish higher education under a diploma contract (‘generatiestudent’)):

  • You remain enrolled for the course units (or courses) for which you have taken the final exams.
  • For the other course units (or courses):
    • You recover all the credits if you re-enrol for another study programme before 1 December
    • In addition to the usual recovery of credits, you also recover half of the other included credits (which you normally would not be able to recover because the cut-off date* has expired) if you re-enrol for another study programme between 1 December and 15 March
    • You lose the credits for which the cut-off date has expired if you re-enrol after 15 March.

All other cases:

  • You remain enrolled for the course units (or courses) for which you have taken the final exams.
  • You recover the included credits for each other course unit (or course) for which cancel your enrolment before the cut-off date*. After that, you lose the credits.

Cut-off date = date till which you can cancel your enrolment for a course unit (course). In practice, this means that you can cancel your enrolment until the Friday of the fourth lecture week of the period or the semester in which the course starts. For courses that run a full academic year, you have time till the Friday of the sixth lecture week to cancel your enrolment. In this case, you recover the credits.