Learning Account

Every bachelor or master student in Flemish Higher Education is subjected to the system of the learning account. Some explanatory notes.

What is the learning account?

  • It is a “backpack” with 140 credits that a student automatically receives when enrolling in a bachelor’s or initial master’s programme in Flanders. The learning account does not apply to enrolments in bridging programmes, preparatory programmes, the specific teacher training, postgraduate programmes and advanced master programmes.

  • Diploma contracts and credit contracts are subject to the learning account, exam contracts are not.

The objective of the learning account

  • It is a system used by the Flemish government to monitor students’ study progress.

  • It aims to stimulate students to make well-informed study choices.

  • It further aims to stimulate the institutes of higher education to provide high quality study guidance to the students.

How does the learning account work?

  • The learning account has a starting balance of 140 credits.

  • Each academic year the number of credits that you registered for is deducted from your learning account. The credits that you receive a credit certificate for (passing grade), are earned back. The credits from course units you do not pass, are lost.

  • You obtain a credit certificate for each course unit you received a final grade of at least 10/20 for. The credits from course units you do not pass in the first semester, but do pass in the second semester, will be earned back after second semester.

  • Bonus: The first 60 credits for which you gain a credit certificate (enrolment under a diploma contract) are doubled. It doesn't matter if you gain them in the first year or during several years. 

  • If you obtain a Master’s degree, the amount of 140 credits is deducted from your learning account. This is not the case if you obtain another master's degree. 
    In general you will still have a number of credits left, since you acquired a bonus of 60 credits in the beginning.  You can use these credits to enrol in a new bachelor’s or master’s programme.

Example: if you enrol for 60 credits, you will use 60 credits of your learning account during that academic year.

Upon enrolment, 60 of your 140 credits will be deducted, leaving you with 80 credits.

If you obtain a credit certificate for all your course units during the academic year (first and/or second session), those 60 credits will be added back to your learning account, resulting in a total learning account of 140 credits. Since you receive a bonus for the first 60 credits you obtain, you will now have a learning account of 200.

How much learning account do I have left?

To know the balance of your learning account you can contact your educational path counsellor or a student psychologist.

Changes in your study programme and the implications on your learning account

When you deregister for certain course units or change course units, this will affect your learning account.

Are you making changes in your study programme or are you leaving the VUB? Please contact your educational path counsellor.

  • Changing your study programme

When you deregister for course units (diploma contract)

  • before 1 December this will not affect your learning account

  • between 1 December and 15 March you lose the credits for the course units of the first semester and the year courses. Deregistering for course units of the second semester will not affect your learning account during this period. 

  • after 15 March you will get none of the credits back.

For students enrolled in a credit contract

Each deregistration for a course unit means that the credits of that course unit will be deducted, no matter when the deregistration occurs.


  • Terminating your studies

The time of termination is important for your learning account

  • Before 1 December: this will not affect your learning account

  • Before 15 March: you regain the credits for course units of the second semester

  • After 15 March:  you will get none of the credits back


Negative or insufficient learning account?

  • If your learning account is zero or negative you are not allowed to enrol or re-enrol for a bachelor’s or master’s programme via a diploma contract or for a course unit via a credit contract at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel.

  • Students can enrol for the number of credits they have left. Students who have a limited learning account will be charged with extra tuition fee of €11 per credit for the credits for which the balance of their learning account is negative. 


  • Students who obtained a bachelor’s degree and who do not have a sufficient learning account balance to obtain their master’ degree, will get admitted to the master insofar they did not yet obtain a master’s degree and meet the admission requirements.

  • Students who were enrolled in the previous academic year (2015-2016) and have to finish at most 30 ECTS credits of that programme, but do not have a sufficient learning account balance, will get admitted to finish that programme during one academic year (2016-2017) insofar they did not yet obtain a master's degree and meet the admission requirements.

  • Students who already obtained a master's degree, but do not have a sufficient learning account balance, will get admitted to an other master's programme during maximum two academic years for a one year master's programme or three academic years for a two years master's programme.

  • These provisions apply to both (re-) enrolment for an initial bachelor or master's degree via diploma contract as for a course unit via credit contract and this undiminished eventual study progress decisions. This means that possible study progress decisions (refusal to re-enrol or binding conditions) still apply, even if the student meets one of the previous exceptions.


Once-only reconstruction of the learning account

  • Each student who ends up with a learning account below 60, after having obtained his initial master’s degree, is entitled to a once-only reconstruction up to 60 credits at a rate of 10 credits per academic year maximum.

    Enrolments with an exam contract are considered to be regarded as not enrolled and are therefore also taken into account for the reconstruction.

  • Students who have left their higher education programmes without obtaining a degree, and have a remaining learning account below 60, are also entitled to this once-only reconstruction up to 60 credits at a rate of 10 credits per academic year maximum.

Learning account and force majeure

  • Students who lost their learning account or are at risk of losing their learning account due to force majeure, can consult this web page (website in Dutch only).
  • Students who are not in the possibility to participate in their exam due to force majeure and for which the university is not able to arrange a new examination for organisational reasons, lose their learning account. This is not reasonable and unfair towards these students.
  • Students who wish to recuperate their learning account first need to ask their institution for a customised examination schedule. If the institution decides that this is no longer possible in this case, the student can bring the institution’s decision before the Council for disputes about decisions on study progress.
  • If the force majeure is established and the institution’s decision is founded in the sense that no customised examination schedule is possible, the learning account for the course units involved will be returned to the student on the basis of the “official” decision of the Council.

More information?

For more information please contact the Educational path counsellors of your study programme.