Learning account, what's that?

Learning account is a “backpack” with 140 credits that a student automatically receives when enrolling in a bachelor’s or initial master’s programme in Flanders. Students who register with a credit contract and therefore only follow a number of course units also use these credits. Exam contracts and exchange students are not subject to learning account. It also doesn't apply to enrolments in bridging programmes, preparatory programmes, the specific teacher training, postgraduate programmes and advanced master programmes.

You can earn credits back by passing courses, but you can also lose credits when you don't pass courses. This way, the learning account reflects your study success. An insufficient learning account will have consequences for your study progress.

Please note, these are the rules the VUB uses for the learning account. Other institutions may impose other rules and place different emphasis.

Discover more about the learning account in the Canvas course by Study Guidance

How does it work?

The general rule states that you need a positive learning account balance to be able to (re-)enrol for an initial bachelor under a diploma contract or for courses under a credit contract.

Step 1

Each student starts with 140 credits in their learning account. Each academic year, you receive as many credits as the number of credits in your programme. A standard academic year consists of 60 credits.

Step 2 

Passed* some or all of your course units? Then you will get the credits back that you used for these units. Not passed a number of units after the second session? Then you will lose the credits used for these units.
*Passed = at least 10/20, so no deliberations

Step 3

Bonus: the first 60 credits for units that you pass are doubled and added to your learning account. It doesn’t matter if you gain these credits during your first year or during several academic years.

The bonus does not apply if you interrupt your studies for one or more academic years with a learning account of less than 60 credits. At that moment, your learning account will automatically be rebuilt.

Stap 4

Obtained a master’s degree? Then 140 credits will be deducted from your balance. This is only the case for your first master's degree. Ideally, you will then have 60 credits left over that you can use to enrol in a second programme.

Dropping courses or terminating studies

When you drop or change certain course units or terminate your studies, this will affect your learning account. 

Dropping courses

When you drop courses (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. Dropping courses of the second semester and year courses will not affect your learning account during this period. 
  • After 15 March: you will get none of the credits back.

Do you drop courses when you're under credit contract? Each dropped course means that the credits of that course unit will be deducted, no matter when the dropping occurs.

Deregister courses 

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 and year courses.
  • After 15 March:  you will get none of the credits back.
     

Terminate your studies

Switching to other programme

Have you started your studies but want to change to another programme? Then this will affect your learning account. 

Non-first-time students

First-time students are students enrolling for the first time in a bachelor’s programme under a diploma contract.

If you change programme:

  • before 1 December: you will get all your credits back.
  • from 1 December to 15 March: you will get the credits back for course units from the second semester and year-long courses.
  • after 15 March: you will lose all the credits you have used.
Students who enrol for the first time

The following rules apply to first-time students if they change programmes:

  • before 1 December: you will get all your credits back. Make sure the termination of your first programme and the enrolment in your new programme are done before 1 December.
  • between 1 December and the last working day before the start of the January examinations: you will get back all the credits for course units from the second semester and year-long courses, and half the credits for course units from the first semester.
  • between the first official day of the January examinations and 15 March: you will get back all the credits for course units from the second semester and year-long courses. 
  • after 15 March: you will lose all the credits you have used.

Learning account balance

To enrol at VUB you must have a positive learning account balance, but exceptions are possible. You can take more credits than you have learning credit for, and you do not pay an increased tuition fee for the extra credits.

Discover more about the learning account in the Canvas course by Study Guidance

How to check

You can check your learning account in two ways: 

Positive learning account

Positive learning account

You need a positive learning account balance if you want to enrol for:

  • a bachelor’s (an exception is only possible if you still have to complete a maximum of 30 credits of the bachelor’s programme);
  • an abridged bachelor's (an exception is only possible if you still have to complete a maximum of 30 credits of the abridged bachelor's programme);
  • a credit contract

Exceptions

Is your learning account negative? You can still register in the following situations.

  • Students who have a negative learning account balance, will get admitted to or get the possibility to continue the master insofar they meet the admission requirements.
  • Students who were enrolled in the previous academic year in a bachelor programme and have to finish at most 30 ECTS credits of that programme, but have a negative learning account balance, will get admitted to finish that programme during one academic year insofar they meet the admission requirements.

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

Are you left with less than 60 credits after your studies? Then you are entitled to a once-only reconstruction to 60 credits. Automatic top-up takes place at a rate of 10 credits a year maximum.

This reconstruction starts:

  • Immediately, when you are left with less than 60 credits on your learning account after having obtained your initial master’s degree.
  • After one academic year without being enrolled in higher education, when you have left your higher education programme without having obtained a degree.

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

This is what the Flemish Government says about building up your learning account (in Dutch).

Force majeure

Students who are not in the possibility to participate in their exam due to force majeure and for which the faculty is not able to arrange a new examination for organisational reasons, lose their learning account. This is not reasonable and unfair towards these students. In this case, the student can bring the institution’s decision before the Council for disputes about decisions on study progress.

Students who lost their learning account or are at risk of losing their learning account due to force majeure, can consult the website of the Flemish government (website in Dutch or French only) for more information on how to proceed. It comes down to the next four steps:

  • Prepare your petition
  • Add the necessary documents to your petition
  • Date and sign your petition
  • Send your petition via registered mail

Read more about force majeure due to corona in academic year 21-22 (only in Dutch)

Questions

Any questions about your learning account? Contact the study path counselor of your faculty. 

Study path counselors