Guidelines for supervision of higher education institutions’ application of rules

This document serves as guidance for the Swedish Higher Education
Authority’s supervision of the application of rules by higher education
institutions (HEI) (HEI supervision).

This form of supervision focuses on legal matters associated with certain quality assurance issues in the Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance in the European Higher Education Area, ESG.

One task of the Swedish Higher Education Authority (UKÄ) is to exercise supervision of HEIs. UKÄ and its predecessor, the National Agency for Higher Education, have carried out this task by handling complaints about HEIs, publishing reports on various legal areas and, through inspection visits, reviewing the HEIs’ application of rules on site.

UKÄ is also responsible for the quality assurance of higher education. Within the framework of this task, UKÄ has formulated a national system for quality assurance in higher education. The system comprises four components, one of which is the review of HEIs’ quality assurance processes.

The new system for quality assurance of higher education is based, among other things, on the Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance in the European Higher Education Area (ESG). These standards and guidelines stipulate that the external quality review must take into consideration the requirements of the legal framework in which the HEIs are active.

The standards and guidelines include a number of areas pertaining to issues that are regulated in the Swedish higher education statutes and the Swedish Administrative Procedures Act. These issues are typically reviewed as part of the supervision. Compliance with the applicable rules is essential for HEIs to be deemed as having a high-quality operation. UKÄ therefore reviews the legal issues included in ESG in the framework of supervision operations. In addition, UKÄ will coordinate HEI supervision with the HEI reviews carried out within the framework of UKÄ’s quality assurance task. Instead of reviewing the HEIs’ application of rules on site (inspection visit), as before, UKÄ will carry out the review without visiting the HEIs. This review is called HEI supervision.

A pilot study for HEI supervision was conducted in 2017.