Binding study advice (BSA)

Binding study advice (BSA) is a means used by the executive board of educational institutions to determine whether or not a student is suited for the study. The incentive behind this measure is to avoid dropouts in a later stage. A university or an institution of higher professional education may choose to implement a binding study advice. Each educational institution is required to provide the students with an advice before the end of the first year. However, the institution may choose to make the advice binding. An educational institution is subjected to legal requirements and safeguards in issuing BSA. A BSA is issued for students that fail to meet the required amount of study credit or other requirements associated with the first year of the programme. The amount of study credit needed or other requirements expected to be met in order to stay in the programme are matters decided upon by the institution’s executive board. These terms and conditions are stated in the Education and Examination Regulations (Dutch acronym: OER). The institutional executive board may independently formulate consequences associated with the binding study advice. The OER also includes a section on the implications of a BSA.

It is of great importance that the student’s personal situation is taken into account when issuing the BSA. If exceptional circumstances are at play, either private or at the institution itself, it is wise to report these timely. This is usually possible through your assigned tutor or the dean of the institution. The institution’s executive board is required to take these exceptional circumstances into account when issuing a BSA.

As mentioned above, the student will receive a conditional BSA before they receive a definite BSA. Usually, the conditional BSA is issued halfway through the academic year. The conditional BSA acts as a warning. It is important that there is enough room for necessary improvement in study credit after getting a conditional BSA. Therefore, it should not be the case that the definite BSA is issued a month after the conditional BSA. Also, it is mandatory for your institution’s executive board to hear you out. This means that you will be invited to have a conversation with your institution to present your side of the story. This is your right as a student. In case your institution fails to invite you to a conversation, you need to take action. If you’re not sure how to do this wisely, or if you have questions regarding the BSA, please contact the student helpline.

Legal effects of the binding study advice

Once a student is issued a BSA, they are not allowed to re-apply to the same educational programme. The exact legal effects of a BSA are included in the OER of your programme. Generally, students do have permission to apply to a different programme offered by the same institution, or the same programme at a different institution. Legal effects of a BSA may thus differ per institution. It is advised to consult the OER of the programme in question for the specific legal effects of a BSA. Usually, the OER states that a student is disenrolled on the basis of a BSA, and that a re-enrolment at the same institution for the same or a similar programme will be rejected.

Legal remedies against the binding study advice

A student may appeal against an issued BSA at the Examination Appeals Board (Dutch acronym: CBE). The period for appeal is six weeks. Formally speaking, the CBE is the only qualified body to assess an appeal against a BSA. The six-week period for appeal does not apply when a legal clause is missing at the time the BSA is released. In that case, the student has an excusable period of appeal. For more information about the appeal procedure you may contact the student helpline. Additionally, you may click here to find a Dutch format of a notice of appeal to the CBE.