Student Services

Title

Student Services

Sub-title

Studentenvoorzieningen

Name of the institution(s)

VLHORA / Flemish Council of University Colleges

Qualification level concerned

EQF 6

Country concerned

Belgium

Theme(s)

Governance

Mission/Role of Professional Higher Education

Keywords

access to PHE, Inclusion, participation to PHE, social dimension

Summary

This initiative has been developed, regulated and funded by the Government. It created cooperation with higher education institutions in the region, making them apply these measures in their own systems.

The key drivers for the initiative were drawn from the local needs and have been applied on the institutional policies. Their main idea is to ensure easier access to higher education to every student, regardless of his/hers cultural and financial background.

As it is a large scale initiative, it is covering a large group of underrepresented students, and/or students in need.

Purpose of the student services:

  • strengthen the social character of the university colleges
  • promote equal access and participation

Student service offices pursue that objective by:

  • providing financial and social services
  • giving opportunities to every student regardless his cultural and financial background

Each student service office has activities in the following fields:

  • social service
  • service for students with disabilities
  • medical and psychotherapeutic service
  • housing
  • catering
  • mobility
  • cultural activities and sports

Students with impairments that limit their ability to participate in academic activities may be assisted:

  • assisted living accommodation
  • guidance and financial support
  • psychosocial support
  • advice and guidance in educational matters

Special attention to economically and socially indigent students, disabled students.

Students dealing with personal or psychological problems may appeal to the student services for professional help.

Financial support is given in forms of student loans, financial aid for student expenses (books, housing, public transport, student materials, etc.), reduced tuition fees. The system works complementary to the Belgian social security system and complementary to scholarships of the Flemish government.

Employment service are developed as well in the form of jobs for students, database, information about legislation and regulations, etc.

The final output is expected to be increased rate of students with certain problems (including disabilities) accessing higher education. It is measured by the usage of the service and cooperation with staff dedicated to it.

Lessons learnt

The initiative is being created and driven by the government, and therefore the political factors in the process are high and the support is given to the maximum. This support is definitely a very important factor, giving not just great visibility and financial support, but also ensures continuation and sustainability of the project.

In the first results, it is visible that the new service is well appreciated and used by students. This is of curse proven with the work done by staff members. Clear statistical information will be known after at least 5 years of the implementation of the programme.

Additional information

Contact details

Mathilde Joos, VLHORA

Ravensteingalerij 27/3, 1000 Brussel

mathilde.joos[at]vlhora.be

First collected by

IDEAS project (Identifying Effective Approaches to Enhancing the Social Dimension), 2013-2015

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