Psychotherapeutic help


Psychotherapeutic help

Name of the institution(s)

Cooperation of the Social Services’ Offices/Student Services of all university colleges and universities in Flanders with the support of VLHORA – Flemish Council of University Colleges and the Flemish government

Qualification level concerned



Country concerned

Flanders, Belgium


Mission/Role of Professional Higher Education



Inclusion; access to PHE; student support; social dimension


This initiative was developed taking into account the limitations many young people face nowadays for accessing higher education due to financial or other problems. In order to make university colleges more accessible, this project was developed in cooperation with the colleges across Flanders. It is also based on the priorities of university colleges that wish to strengthen their social character and step up as higher education institutions with equal opportunities.

This project provides students studying in Flemish higher education institutions several means of support including financial support, counselling and other services. It focuses on students dealing with personal or psychological problems. They may appeal to the student services for professional help. The therapists and psychiatrists run various trainings and therapy sessions according to the individual needs of the students. They may offer assistance in case of psychological, relational and psychosomatic complaints. The project is well promoted among students but the services are being provided on a confidential basis.

The main objective is to support and encourage low income students and other under-represented groups in higher education, to reduce the barriers towards higher education and to support and encourage equality of opportunities through the provision of clear and accessible financial information and support to students, their parents/caretakers and advisers.

While the project involves and focuses on students, special training is given to staff, and moreover, additional staff is being employed in order to facilitate the project.

Lessons learnt

This project came as cooperation between the university colleges in Flanders and therefore can expect a stronger success. As the problem was noticed on the regional level, there has been a strong commitment by the institutions to develop this initiative. It is guided by VLHORA – Flemish Council of University Colleges. It is also supported by the Flemish government and certain funds are coming from them.

As the current high level unemployment pulls the trends of studying more to professional higher education, due to more practice oriented programmes, the demand from the side of students has increased as well, and the efforts have been put to enabling access to various groups.

The success is seen firstly from the fact that all the colleges have enrolled, increasing the scope of the initiative.

With a dedication form all the colleges involved, as well as with the staff trained and employed for this project, on the long run there is a sustainable system for continuing this service to students

In order to measure the success of the initiative, qualitatively staff involved is providing reports on the developments of the project, the frequency of using the service by students is being counted, and overall, the decrease of the dropout rate is being taken into account. Until now, there is a lower dropout rate of students during their university years and a higher percentage of finishing studies. This will however be well measured only after a first trial period of 5 years.

Contact details


Contact Person:

Mathilde Joos, VLHORA

Ravensteingalerij 27/3, 1000 Brussel


First collected by

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


Rating of GOOD practices
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