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Professionals

Working and studying

Why start studying (again) when you already work?

  • Are you getting the itch to start studying again after a number of years on the job market?
  • Want to pick up the thread of your unfinished studies?

Resuming studies you started years ago but never finished is an obvious reason to want to start again. Or maybe an extra degree will give you the opportunity to advance your career and get that much longed-for new job or promotion?

Whatever your reason to want to start diving into those text-books (again), the Vrije Universiteit Brussel wishes you a warm welcome!

Do you want to combine your current work with study?

More and more people opt for the combination of a (full time) job with a university education.

As a working student at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel you can choose from a whole range of study programmes that have the exact same content as the day students. This same content guarantees you a diploma that is equal to that of the day student. Only the time and number of contact hours vary: working students can take evening and weekend classes (Saturday) in the form of refresher courses and review courses, supplemented by individual attention from lecturers and assistants.

Who is a working student?

The working student statute, which enables you to take evening and weekend classes, can be requested if you cannot take daytime classes due to your professional activities (or equivalent activities).

It is also possible to take evening and weekend classes for personal reasons, for instance when your family situation does not allow you to take daytime classes.

Obtaining the working student statute

If you want to enroll in evening/weekend classes you need to apply for the working student statute with the Statement of Honour form. When you enroll for the first time you can submit this form at the moment of registration.

You can find this form on the 'Forms' page of the enrolment information section.

The working student statute needs to be renewed each academic year. It is therefore important that you submit the form at the Student Information Hub as soon as possible, either by handing it in person or by sending it through postal mail. As the original form is needed, we cannot accept scanned copies.

Other useful information about your registration can be found on the enrolment information pages.

If you are an employee or civil servant working in Flanders or the Brussels Capital Region, it is possible to use educational training vouchers to pay part of your studies. More information on educational training vouchers is available at the Student Information Hub.

Facilities for working students

Working students can be eligible for certain facilities, depending on whether they work in the private sector or whether they are working for the government.

You work in the private sector

Paid Educational Leave

Full-time (and sometimes part-time) employees in the private sector are entitled to be absent from work, while maintaining the normal (capped) wage, through the Paid Educational leave (BEV) system.

This requires that you are enrolled for classes taught after 4 p.m. or during the weekend, leading to a bachelor or master degree (also some additional training programmes). The number of hours BEV is equal to the number of contact hours, with a maximum of 120 hours per academic year.

You can only make use of BEV when you enrolled for a degree contract or exam contract with a view to obtaining a diploma. You can only obtain BEV when your study programme consists of minimum 32 contact hours per academic year.

More information on the requirements to obtain BEV is available at the Social Service for Students.

Administrative formalities during the academic year

For each course unit you need to keep a separate attendance list, which your lecturer needs to sign after each contact hour. These lists need to be handed in at the Student Information Hub after the end of each term: after the winter holiday (1st term), after the spring holiday (2nd term), after the last contact hour (3rd term). Keep a copy of the attendance lists for yourself. With these lists you declare upon your honour how many contact hours were actually taught and attended, and how many hours you were absent (authorized and unauthorized hours).

When you are absent (unauthorized) for more than 10%, you lose the right to BEV for a period of 6 months. Certificates of authorized absence need to be handed in at the Student Information Hub.

After signature by the rector, you will receive the three-monthly statement of punctuality of lessons followed. This document is intended for your employer.

1.2. Time credit (tijdskrediet)

Time credit is also known as the career break for employees in the private sector. This way you can set some time aside to study, for example. The career break lasts a minimum of 3 months and maximum 1 year. This can be extended in certain sectors or companies up to a maximum of 5 years. Time credit is a right when you meet the conditions of the chosen formula.

More information on the conditions for time credit is available at the Social Service for Students.

You work for the government

2.1 Training leave system (Vormingsverlof (OVR))

When you work for the government you can obtain Training Leave (OVR), provided that you have the consent of your Training Department, and that the study programme is (in most cases) related to your professional activity. The maximum number of hours training leave is 120. You can get this granted insofar as you can prove your contact hours.

More information on the training leave system is available at the Social Service for Students.

Administrative formalities during the academic year

For each course unit you need to keep a separate attendance list, which your lecturer needs to sign after each contact hour. These lists need to be handed in at the Student Information Hub in June, after the last contact hour of the 3rd term. Keep a copy of the attendance lists for yourself.

With these lists you declare upon your honour how many contact hours were actually taught and attended, and how many hours you were absent (authorized and unauthorized hours).

After signature by the rector, you will receive the statement of punctuality of lessons followed. This document is intended for your employer.

2.2. Career Break (Loopbaanonderbreking)

Through a career break, you can temporarily interrupt or reduce your hours of labour (complete interruption, part-time work, 1/5th, 1/4th, 1/3rd) and as such free some time to study. More information on the Career Break is available at the Social Service for Students.

English taught study programme for working students

Programme Preparatory programme Master

AdvancedMaster

Management  
Gerontological Sciences    
European Integration and Development    

Other study possibilities

Are the programmes listed above not what you are looking for? Does your work or personal situation not allow you to combine them with daytime or working student programmes? Vrije Universiteit Brussel also offers several other training opportunities.

More information

For more information you can contact the following services:

More information on certificates for Paid Educational Leave/Training Leave is available at the Student Information Hub.

Since the combination of work and study requires good organization, planning and flexibility, you can also contact Study Counselling-Diversity Service for information, tips and advice to promote your chances of success.

Do you have any questions about your social status as a (working) student? Do you want to know how much one year of studying costs and what allowances are available (nationality restrictions apply)? Are you having trouble paying for all your study related expenses? The Social Service for Students will be happy to help you with these questions.

The educational path counsellor of your faculty can give you more information about exemptions, your study load and the study programmes.