Learning account

Through the learning account, the Flemish government monitors the study progress of students across the different institutions of higher education. All students who register for the first time in Flemish higher education will automatically receive a learning account of 140 study credits. Taken credits are deducted from the learning account, earned credits are added back.

On the one hand, the learning account gives you ample opportunity to obtain a higher education diploma, even if you occasionally fail to obtain some credits or change programme/institution. On the other hand, there is a limit to the study opportunities you get, read: to what society is willing to pay for your studies. The learning account obliges you to be conscious and realistic about your choice of study and to take responsibility for your study progress.

The government has determined that only students with a positive learning account can be funded. Therefore, institutions don't receive any subsidies for students with a negative learning account. In that case the institution can decide to refuse an enrolment or to ask for a higher tuition fee.

Studenten met laptop in cafetaria

Whether you need your learning account depends on the type of programme, the contract or programme you choose.

  • You will use your learning account if:
    • you are registering for a diploma contract for an initial bachelor or master programme and a short track bachelor programme
    • you are registering for a credit contract and are therefore only taking up a number of courses
    • you register for additional courses during the academic year
  • You don't need your learning account when you register:
    • for an associate degree (of education)
    • for a bridging or preparation programme
    • for a bachelor of education if you already hold a bachelor's degree
    • for a master of education if you already hold a master's degree
    • for a postgraduate course
    • for a bachelor-after-bachelor programme
    • for a master-after-master programme
    • with an exam contract

Note: if you register for courses from one of the above-mentioned programmes or programmes with a credit contract, you will always use your learning account.

No learning account will be used for courses for which you are exempted.

  • The number of credits for which you obtained a credit (i.e. which you have acquired) will be added again to your learning account. The credits of the courses for which you didn't obtain a credit after the second exam period, are lost forever. This is also the case when you used a tolerance credit.
  • The learning account also includes a bonus whereby the first 60 credits you earn in a bachelor programme with a diploma contract are returned twice. This bonus is not linked to one academic year. As long as you haven't earn your first 60 credits in your bachelor programme, the bonus is valid.

    Example: if you didn't yet obtain 60 credits in the programme and you pass a course of 4 credits, you will receive 8 credits back (80+4x2=88). If you passed for 60 credits, you will receive 120 credits back, bringing your total back to 200.
  • If your learning account balance is less than 60 credits after obtaining your initial master's degree or when you leave higher education prematurely, the learning account balance will be built up again to 60 credits. However, you will only receive back a maximum of 10 credits per academic year.

    For example. After obtaining your master's degree or upon leaving higher education, your learning account amounts to 44. The next academic year you will receive 10 credits extra, the year after that you will receive another 6 credits.
  • The number of credits you include in your year programme

    Ideally, you should only take as many credits in your year programme as you can actually complete, in order to maintain your learning account. Think about it and do not automatically take the traditional 60 credits. Don't hesitate to ask for advice from a learning path coach from your programme or a student counsellor from the student services department.

  • Making changes to your year programme

    Cancelling courses only leads to a refund of learning account if it is done before 1 December for courses starting in the first semester, and before 15 March for courses starting in the second semester. Courses added to your year programme obviously lead to a reduction in learning account.
  • The moment you reorient or deregister from a programme 
    • If you deregister before December 1,all the credits of that programme will be added to your learning account.
    • If you deregister between December 1 and March 15:
      • the credits of the courses for which you were registered and which start in the 1st semester remain definitively deducted from your learning account (unless you passed: in that case, they are added again to your learning account);
      • the credits of the courses that start in the 2nd semester are again added to your learning account.
    • After March 15th, all credits you registered for via your ISP remain deducted from your learning account.
  • If you are registered with a credit contract and you want to deregister, you will always lose the learning account.

Extra rule for generation students (= students who are registered for the first time with a diploma contract for a bachelor programme at the Flemish higher education). If these students change programme between December 1 and the end of the lessons in the first semester, they only lose half of the learning account for courses that start in the first semester.

When you obtain a master's degree for the first time, 140 credits will be subtracted from your learning account. Usually, you still have a number of credits left over because you started with a bonus of 60 credits. If you want to obtain a bachelor's or master's degree afterwards, you can either use those credits again or you will have to pay more tuition fees if your learning account is below 60 credits. After obtaining a second master's degree, 140 credits are not deducted. Also after obtaining a professional or academic bachelor's degree, no credits are deducted.

To stimulate lifelong learning, your learning account is built up once again after your studies. See also 'How can you recover your learning account?'.

  • Students who have no learning account or a negative learning account will be rejected.
  • Students who still have a limited learning account (between 1 and 59 credits) can still register. For the credits for which you no longer have a learning account, you have to pay a double registration fee.

Exception to this are students who were registered without interruption during the past 2 academic years and still need to complete a maximum of 30 credits of a programme of study: they are allowed to continue their studies during 1 academic year.

Students who, in case of no or negative learning account, wish to request permission to start or complete a bachelor's programme, submit a well-motivated request in writing (a letter) to the director of the field of study, at the latest on the 10th of October. This is also possible before the 25th of February for students who, in the same academic year, have not yet submitted an application for an exception to the refusal.

Because the exception can only be granted on the basis of special individual circumstances, the student shall state very clearly in his request which special circumstances form the basis of his request. This information is kept confidential.

The exceptional permission is granted by the director of the field of study together with the head of the Student Services. In their decision they take into account the student's already completed study pathway and his chances to successfully complete the programme of study.

Through the student portal (www.studentenportaal.be) of the Flemish government you can monitor the evolution of your learning account. You need to log in via e-ID or a token of the government.

(This website is only available in Dutch). 

If you cannot find the answer to your questions here or if you have questions about your individual possibilities to enrol, please contact the student counsellor of the student services department (for the campus Brussel, Dilbeek and Schaarbeek) or the director of the field of study (for the campus Aalst, Gent and Sint-Niklaas).

The Flemish government has decided that students who have ended up in a situation of force majeure because of corona and have therefore not passed one or more courses, can reclaim their learning account.

Important: certain conditions apply. For example, you must have participated in all examinations opportunities of the course unit. All the conditions and the information on how to reclaim your learning account can be found on the government website (in Dutch): https://onderwijs.vlaanderen.be/nl/coronamaatregelen-voor-studenten

Could you not participate in 1 or more exams due to a force majeure situation and was no catch-up exam possible for you either? Then you can reclaim your learning account lost due to force majeure via a request to the Council for Disputes regarding Study Progress Decisions.

You can find all the info at http://onderwijs.vlaanderen.be/nl/terugvordering-van-leerkrediet-wegens-overmacht (in Dutch). There you will also find a sample letter you can use, containing all the information the Council needs to make a decision.

You attach to this letter the necessary supporting documents clearly showing that you were unable to take certain exams, such as transcripts of records (can be requested via the self-service application), medical certificates stating the date/period of illness, or any other circumstances beyond your control.

You should send this letter by registered mail to the Council for Disputes on Study Progress Decisions.

Send a copy of that request and the attached documents to juridische.zaken@odisee.be or by registered mail to:


     Attn: Legal department

     Warmoesberg 26

     1000 Brussels

Please also include the e-mail address you wish to use for further communication.


The Council will contact you directly about the further procedure and their decision.

ATTENTION: a separate procedure has been drawn up for the recovery of education credits due to COVID-19. More information can be found  here (in Dutch).