Regulations

Binding Recommendation (BSA)

What is a binding recommendation (BSA)?

The University of Twente will be enforcing a Binding Recommendation on continuation of studies (Binding Study Advice - BSA) for all Bachelor's programs. This means that students who have completed at least 45 EC can continue their programme. When less than 45 EC are completed the programme can issue a positive recommendation if there is sufficient confidence that the student has chosen the correct study programme.
You can get information on this subject from your own study advisor. Personal circumstances will, however, be taken into consideration when formulating the recommendation. The standard and procedures for ATLAS students are different compared to the information here. ATLAS students should contact their study advisor if they have any questions.

As it is the university’s aim to enable all suitable students to graduate successfully, we have ensured that - along with the BSA - you will receive intensive support both during your first year and thereafter. Each programme has a study adviser who can help you with any study-related issues and many programmes also have a tutor or mentoring system.
Information on the reasoning behind the BSA, regulations and special circumstances can be found on this website.

What can you expect?

At the start of the year, you will have an interview with a tutor, mentor or academic advisor in which the BSA will be addressed. You will receive an invitation through your educational programme. After the results of the first module are known, you will receive a pre-recommendation by mail or Osiris in week 52 at the latest.A second pre-recommendation follows in week 10 at the latest. These are not binding and can be negative, neutral or positive. Students, who haven't obtained 45 credits, are given a negative recommendation. And if you do obtaine 45 credits, you will be given a positive recommendation. The Programme Board may also decide to give neutral pre-recommendation, for example if they are confident that you can achieve 45 credits with an additional examination or if you have recently switched to a different study.

Students, who receive a negative or neutral study recommendation, will be invited for a meeting with the study advisor. In this meeting, the study approach and the study choice will be discussed.
If there are personal circumstances, you need to report them to the academic advisor as soon as possible (see chapter personal circumstances). Moreover, if you have study-related questions, you can always go to your study advisor.

After the additional test week (week 30) you will receive, around week 33, the final recommendation by mail/Osiris. This recommendation is positive if you have obtained 45 credits or more in the first year; it is negative if you have obtained less. Futhermore, some education programmes have additional requirements (consult the Education and Examination Regulations of your educational programme for that). The Programme Board may also decide to postpone the final recommendation until the second year (deferred recommendation), because of e.g. a study switch or personal circumstances.

Why the BSA?

A guiding principle in the vision of the University of Twente is that students are involved as partners in the set-up and execution of their education. The education is a product of the collaboration between the university and its students; a product that can only come to fruition when responsibilities and efforts are shared.
The UT offers students a challenging education but this can only be experienced as such if the student has chosen the correct study programme. Adequate student guidance, good matching and cooperation with the surrounding universities of applied sciences must ensure this. Whereas it is the UT’s challenge to offer well-organised education, so too can students be expected to show dedication and ambition.
Experiences of the various departments have shown that students who earn less than a certain number of ECs in the first year have little chance of completing the course successfully. With several programmes, it has also appeared that not passing or postponing certain subjects has a negative effect on the successful completion of a study. Students who find themselves in this situation appear not to have chosen the right programme or one in which they can achieve their full potential.
The main objective of the BSA is that students “find their right direction” more quickly.

Another aim of the BSA is to challenge students to perform well and get good grades from the beginning of their course of study. They must, however, be able to undertake extra-curricular activities, such as participating on a committee or helping organise a study trip.
If, in the first year, a student obtaines 45 credits or more, he/she should be able to finish the programme on time. However, if the student is delayed despite sufficient effort, the reasons for this need to be seriously addressed. In other words, the BSA also places an obligation on the department.
Earning the standard number of ECs must be seen as the absolute minimum requirement. The goal should be to complete the B1 programme in the first year. Educational and exam programmes have been designed such that students are encouraged to achieve this and, with sufficient effort, should even be able to earn 60 ECs in their first year.

Regulations

Each programme has Education and Examination Regulations (OER) which regulates the rights and obligations of students with respect to education, tests and examinations. The general rules and regulations surrounding the BSA are described below (Article 6.3 OER). 
A program can set additional requirements within the BSA. Whether these also apply to your programme, can be found in the programme-specific appendix to the OER. The OER can be found on the Education page of your programme.

Art 6.3 Binding recommendation on continuation of Studies (BSA)

  1. Each student receives a written recommendation on continuation studies at the end of the first year of enrolment on the programme. This recommendation is based on the student’s results. The student may be allowed to continue on the programme, or may be required to leave the programme.
  2. An introductory interview will be held with each student before 1 November of the first year of enrolment on the programme.
  3. Each student will receive a preliminary recommendation on continuation of studies in week 52 at the latest of his first year of enrolment on the programme. This preliminary recommendation is not binding.
  4. Each student will receive a second preliminary recommendation on continuation of studies in week 10 at the latest of his first year of enrolment on the programme. This preliminary recommendation is not binding.
  5. Students who receive a negative preliminary recommendation on continuation of studies as referred to in paragraph 3 and/or 4 will be invited for an interview with the Study Advisor to discuss their study methods and a review of their choice of degree programme.
  6. The institutional administration mandates the Programme Board to issue recommendations on continuation of studies, as referred to in paragraph 1.
  7. The final recommendation on continuation of studies, as referred to in paragraph 1, may involve expulsion from the programme if the student has completed less than 75% of study load in the first year of the programme. Results of exams and of tests that remain valid beyond the current academic year are counted to establish how much a student has completed. Any additional requirements are specified in the programme-specific annex and as such, are discussed in the Programme Committee.
  8. Expulsion remains in force for a period of three academic years. A final recommendation on continuation of studies that involves expulsion is referred to as a binding recommendation on continuation of studies (BSA). Degree programmes may impose additional BSA requirements which must be included in the programme-specific part of the Teaching and Examination Regulations and which make abundantly clear in what other cases a positive recommendation on continuation of studies may be issued.
  9. Only the credits from study units in the first year of the programme count toward the threshold for the final recommendation on continuation of studies. In case a student requests to transfers credits to the first year from courses taken in a different programme or institution, specific requirements for BSA are communicated to the students together with the decision on the students request. These specific requirements may include passing specific tests.
  10. If a student terminates enrolment in the programme prior to 1 February of the first year of enrolment, no final recommendation on continuation of studies will be issued as referred to in Article 6.3, paragraph 1. If this student re-enrols in a subsequent academic year, then a final recommendation on continuation of studies will be issued at the end of that subsequent academic year. As termination of enrolment are seen:
    a. Submitting a request for termination of enrolment to the UT;
    b. Submitting a request for registration in a different programme at the UT;
    c. Starting studies a different institution with a ‘proof of paid tuition fee’.
  11. If a student transfers to another UT degree programme prior to 1 October, then the norm will not be adjusted as referred to in Article 6.3, paragraph 7. In all other cases, the provisions apply as referred to in Article 6.3, paragraph 7.
  12. The final recommendation on continuation of studies is postponed if a student transfers to another programme on or after 1 October. The final recommendation on continuation of studies will be issued no later than the end of the student’s second year of enrolment. The student is notified when the programme will issue the recommendation within 6 weeks after the transfer.
  13. Prior to receiving a final decision on BSA, students receive a warning. The time between the warning and the final decision should be sufficient to allow the student to meet the requirements of the program, if still possible. Students also have the right to a hearing with the Programme Board before the final decision (Higher Education and Research Act art. 7.8b, paragraph 4).
  14.  When considering a BSA involving expulsion, the Programme Board will take the student’s personal circumstances into account at the student’s request. The Programme Board will only take personal circumstances into account that have been reported to the Study Advisor as soon as can reasonably be expected following their onset.
  15. Personal circumstances include illness, physical, sensory or other functional disability or pregnancy of the student involved, extenuating family circumstances, participation in elite sports and membership on the University Council, Faculty Council, Programme Committee or a Category 3 board in accordance with the FOBOS Regulations.
  16. In consultation with the Study Advisor, the personal circumstances are to be reported to the Personal Circumstances Committee (CPO) and accompanied by supporting documentation.
  17. The CPO will assess the validity and severity of the personal circumstances and report its findings to the Programme Board and the relevant Study Advisor.
  18. The Programme Board will take the CPO’s findings into account when assessing the student’s request as referred to in Article 6.3, paragraph 13.
  19. If personal circumstances preclude assessment of a student’s academic capacities, the final recommendation on continuation of studies is postponed. The final recommendation on continuation of studies will be issued no later than the end of the student’s second year of enrolment. The student is notified when the programme will issue the recommendation within 6 weeks after the decision to postpone.
  20. The Programme Board’s decision regarding the BSA will make mention of the applicable appeals procedure.

Art 6.4 – recommendation on continuation of studies: multiple degree programmes

If a student is enrolled in multiple degree programmes and meets the BSA threshold for one of the programmes, then the student will not be required to meet the threshold for the other programmes.

Special circumstances

Personal circumstances may make it difficult for a student to study for a period of time (if at all). Personal circumstances might be illness, handicap, special family reasons and pregnancy. If these jeopardize the standard duration of study, it is imperative that the right course of action be taken in time, because it might be possible to deviate from the normal programme.

The basic procedure:

  1. The student reports as early as possible to the study adviser that his / her studies are being or might be affected due to personal circumstances
  2. Together, the study advisor and student discuss the situation and possibly make a study plan that takes these circumstances into account. The study plan is included in the student’s BSA file.
  3. If the personal circumstances require such, the student can, at an early stage, have them assessed by the CPO, in consultation with the academic advisor (after module 1). This is only done for cases for which non-assessment can have a negative influence on the personal situation of the student. Applications can be submitted using the online application form.
  4. In all regular cases, the student will take action if the BSA standard might possibly not be met. The student subsequently submits an application for assessment of the circumstances to the CPO (deadline 30 June 2016). 
    The CPO consists of the chairperson, a student counsellor, a programme director and a study adviser.
    • in case of illness, handicap/disability or special circumstances, the supporting document is a certificate from a doctor or psychologist indicating the degree to which the study progress has been impeded and an estimate of the expected duration thereof. The student may also contact the campus General Practitioner for this certificate.
    • in case of pregnancy, the supporting document is a certificate from the midwife or gynaecologist stipulating the expected date of birth. With a pregnancy, it is assumed that a student will hardly be able to study (if at all) for a period of four months. If the delay amounts to longer than four months, a reason other than pregnancy/childbirth must be given for the prolongation of this period
  5. The student must arrange a meeting with the student counsellor (deadline 30 June 2016; interview will be scheduled before 15 July 2016). The student counsellor can advise you and help formulate the problem, as well as advice on other (financial) regulations that might be applicable.
  6. The CPO Committee assesses the legitimacy, the expected duration and the severity of the personal circumstances and gives a recommendation to both the Programme Board and the student.
  7. The Programme Board gives the final recommendation (positive or negative) taken into account the ruling of the CPO Committee. The Programme Board may decide to defere the final recommendation.

Hearing

When you receive a negative pre-recommendation, you will also get the opportunity to request a hearing. You’ll get the opportunity to clarify to a representative of the Programme Board why, in your opinion, the negative pre-recommendation is unwarranted. For more information on how to request a hearing click here.

Appeal

A student can appeal against a negative binding recommendation. This must be done in writing and signed before sending to or handing in at the Complaints Desk UT. The term for submitting an appeal is 6 weeks following the date of the decision of the Board of Examiners who will give a ruling within 10 weeks of receipt of the appeal.
When you put down in the appeal that it is “urgent”, the Complaints Desk will handle the appeal preferentially. It is advised to lodge an appeal as soon as possible after the receipt of your Binding Recommendation.