Art. 28 and Art. 29 of the Hochschulförderungs- und -koordinationsgesetz (HFKG) stipulate that public or private higher education institutions wishing to call themselves "university", "university of applied sciences" or "university of education" have to obtain compulsory accreditation, which is also a prerequisite to receive federal contributions.
Pursuant to Art. 30 HFKG, the Swiss Higher Education Council has specified the legal accreditation requirements in accreditation guidelines and set rules for the implementation of the procedures.
The Accreditation Council is responsible for the accreditation. The Accreditation Council makes its decision on the basis of an evaluation carried out by an accredited quality assurance agency.
By decision of 8 June 2018, the Accreditation Council has authorized AQ Austria to carry out institutional accreditation procedures.
The procedure of the method comprises the following steps:
- Submit the application to the Accreditation Council
- Admission to the Institutional Accreditation Procedure by the Accreditation Council (so-called "Entrance Decision")
- Planning and opening of the procedure, including conclusion / signing of the contract between the Agency and the HEI
- Self-assessment by the HEI
- External assessment by independent reviewers, including an on-site visit and a report from the expert group
- Application for accreditation to the Accreditation Council by the agency and statement by the university
- Accreditation decision of the Accreditation Council
- if necessary, checking the fulfillment of the conditions.
The university can withdraw the application for accreditation at any time. All costs incurred up to this time are charged to the university.
AQ Austria has explained the rules for implementing the procedure in a guideline.
- Ordinance of the Higher Education Council of 28 May 2015 on Accreditation within the Higher Education Sector
- Guideline for institutional accreditation according to HFKG (PDF) (in German)