Frequently Asked Questions

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In accordance with UK government advice, the ASIC office is closed and we are working from home. We will continue to operate our normal UK office hours. Our phone lines are operating as usual. Our staff are all available via e-mail, so please continue to use your current point of contact. If you have any questions, please e-mail

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ASIC response to COVID-19 FAQs.

Here are some of the questions we are most often asked about ASIC and the accreditation process.

Questions are grouped into Institution Questions and Student Questions.

If you are unable to find the information you require or would like to talk further please get in touch, details can be found here.

Institution Questions

Student Questions

What is ASIC accreditation?

ASIC Accreditation is an internationally renowned quality standard for schools, colleges, universities and online learning providers, and is recognised by the UK Home Office. The well-defined and objective benchmarking of ASIC’s accreditation brings independent information to both students and education professionals. Accreditation through ASIC will help students and parents make a more informed choice and will also help a school, college, university, training provider or distance education provider demonstrate to the international student body that they are a high-quality institution. Our international accreditation allows students to gain a realistic and honest picture of what an institution is really like in terms of quality, resources, student support and ethics.
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What are the benefits of ASIC accreditation?

Accreditation by ASIC will help to raise the profile of institutions both within their own countries and worldwide as it confirms that they conform to internationally accepted standards in education. Accreditation with ASIC is not a one-time process. ASIC believes in developing partnerships with its accredited institutions and will assist in activities such as on-going quality assurance, ethical recruitment, working with agents, and the drafting of policies, procedures and codes of practice. On-going development with accredited institutions will also incorporate training programmes on topics such as the use of high quality and ethical recruitment methods, monitoring the work of agents, the implementation of admission systems, the drafting and implementation of ethics policies and the creation of staff and student files. Further information can be found here.
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What type of institution does ASIC accredit?

ASIC accreditation is open to the following types of institutions both in the UK and internationally;
Summer Schools
Training Organisations
Online and Distance Education Providers
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How much does the process cost?

For a UK accreditation, the cost can be as little as £4,550 if the institution also holds an approved and current Educational Oversight report. Full details and breakdown of the fees can be found on page 12 of the ASIC Handbook.
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What can we expect during the accreditation process?

Details of what to expect during the accreditation process may be found here or under the “Inspections” section of the ASIC Accreditation Handbook. Throughout the accreditation process, ASIC staff are on hand to guide you and stages and answer any question you might have. Accreditation by ASIC is independent and unbiased and the accreditation of institutions is undertaken by inspectors who have a wealth of relevant experience. While the assessment leading to accreditation covers the whole range of facilities, resources and activities of the institutions as listed above, there is a focus on the whole student experience and on the underpinning staff expertise. More information about our accreditation can be found here.
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How long does the process take?

The time taken to carry out the accreditation of an institution varies based on the quality of the application, detail of the supporting documentation and times needed to arrange visit dates. For more information and to discuss this further, please contact the ASIC office.
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My institution is new and we have not recruited any students as yet, is the accreditation process different for us?

ASIC recognises that many institutions require recognition before being able to begin recruiting students. Therefore ASIC Accreditation is split into 3 stages. The stage 2 inspection visit can be conducted without students being present. If this visit is successful then Interim Accreditation is awarded for a period of up to one year. The stage 3 inspection, which involves classroom observations of teaching, will need to be completed during that first year. Further information about these various stages can be found here, or in the ASIC Handbook.
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How long does accreditation last?

Generally, ASIC accreditation is granted for a period of four years. Initially, Interim Accreditation is awarded for a period of one year after the successful completion of stage 1 (application) and stage 2 (initial inspection visit) with the view of extending the period of accreditation to a further four years on the successful completion of the stage 3 inspection.
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Is an annual fee required to be paid by our institution?

Yes, the first annual fee will become due immediately after the successful award of accreditation is announced and subsequently every 12 months on the anniversary of the date when the first accreditation was awarded. Please see section 7 of the ASIC Handbook for further details.
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What kind of service can we expect from ASIC after a successful award of accreditation?

Receiving ASIC accreditation is only the first step on what we hope will be a long and fruitful partnership between ourselves and the accredited institution. To facilitate this we will assist our accredited institutions to develop into providers of quality higher education who are respected worldwide. We will endeavour to ensure that all the ASIC areas of operation are adhered to and the best possible education experience is given to students by utilising continuous quality assurance systems. We will help to develop comprehensive, internal audit and self-evaluation systems alongside the accredited institution. We will also assist the accredited institution to develop quality partnerships on a global scale, as well as ethical marketing strategies. By doing this the institution will gain international recognition for their institution which will allow for the development of fruitful partnerships with ethical, professional education agents worldwide.
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What are the minimum qualification requirements for our principal and staff?

We would normally expect the principal of an institution to hold a higher degree such as a Masters or Doctorate, although if a person has substantial industrial, business or commercial experience then this would be acceptable. The principal is not required to hold a specific teaching qualification. Teaching staff should hold a qualification equivalent to or above the level of the subject in which they are teaching. They are not required to hold a teaching qualification but of course, this would be beneficial.
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Is there a minimum number of staff members that should be employed at an institution?

This depends on the size of the institution and the type of courses that are being undertaken. If you have a specific query, then please contact the ASIC office directly.
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Is there a minimum requirement for the size of a classroom?

This would be dependent on the type of building being used, and the variety and nature of courses that are being taught. For health and safety purposes, it is important to remember that here should be easy access and escapes routes in all areas. If you have a specific query, then please contact the ASIC office directly.
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How many rooms should the institutions have?

There is no minimum number of rooms required. Institutions should ensure that there are enough classrooms and office space to run the institution effectively and teach the number of courses chosen.
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How do you calculate the Full-Time Equivalents (FTE’s)?

To calculate the number of Full-Time Equivalent (FTE) students at an institution depends upon what the institution classes as full-time. This could be 15 hours, 20 hours or even more hours a week for the length of the institution’s academic year which again depends on how the institution prefers to operate their term time.

For example, an institution may consider a student to be full time if they attend for lectures or tutorials for 20 hours a week, for a period of 40 weeks over the institutions year. This would mean that to make 1 FTE with part-time students it would take 2 students to attend the institution for lectures or tutorials for 10 hours per week for 40 weeks.

Again if the part-time courses are shorter than the full-time courses, then the equation would look like this; 4 students to attend the institution for lectures or tutorials for 10 hours per week for 20 weeks to make 1 FTE.
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Does ASIC accreditation give an institution degree-awarding powers or validate the institution’s degrees?

No. The ASIC inspection process includes an examination of the content and standard of the curriculum as well as the quality of its delivery to learners. The consistency and reliability of the assessments are also considered by our inspectors. However, it should be noted that ASIC Accreditation neither confers nor validates degree-awarding powers. Applicants wishing to study at any institution, including those offering distance education programmes, should always satisfy themselves that the level of recognition of the relevant award is sufficient to meet their needs.
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What are the changes at our institution which we should notify ASIC about?

ASIC that may need to be made aware of a variety of changes that affect your institution. Generally speaking, ASIC should be notified of anything which affects the running of an institution either in academic or administrative terms. This can include: a change in premises; any changes in ownership, management or major staff changes; any changes to courses or awarding bodies; gaining or losing your license to operate etc. ASIC should be kept up to date of any changes or developments in order to protect the integrity of ASIC accreditation and to ensure that an institution continues to be compliant with current legislation and the accreditation criteria.
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Complaints concerning an ASIC accredited institution – what is the process?

If a student contacts ASIC to make a complaint about an institution, the student is advised to contact the institution directly to ensure they have tried to resolve the matter according to the institution’s own complaints or grievance’s procedure. If the student has tried to comply with the institution’s procedures and the matter has not been resolved, they may contact ASIC for assistance. The student must provide evidence that they have a valid complaint or grievance and show that they have tried to comply with the institution’s procedure. If the evidence supplied by the student is believed to require further investigation, ASIC will contact the institution directly to try and resolve the matter. The reason for ASIC involvement is to ensure the institution is complying with their procedures in a fair manner. In an extreme or serious situation, the ASIC Accreditation Committee may become involved with the possibility of ASIC accreditation being withdrawn from the institution. Further information on complaints can be found in the ASIC Accreditation Handbook.
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Is there an appeals procedure if ASIC accreditation is refused or removed from an institution?

If ASIC accreditation is refused or removed from an institution the instituion has the right to appeal this decision. Full details of the appeals procedure can be found in the ASIC Accreditation Handbook.
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How do I check if an institution is accredited?

You can check if an institution is accredited by either looking in the UK Institution Directory for a UK institution or by looking in the International Institution Directory (links to external website) for a non-UK institution.
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Can ASIC tell me if the course I wish to study is accredited/validated?

ASIC accreditation covers an institution not a specific course. You will need to contact your chosen institution to confirm whether or not a course is accredited/validated.
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What if I have a grievance concerning an ASIC accredited institution?

If you contact ASIC to make a complaint about an institution, you will be advised to contact the institution directly to ensure that you have tried to resolve the matter according the institution’s own complaints or grievance’s procedure. If you have tried to do this, but you believe the institution has not complied with their policies and procedures, then you will be asked to forward all evidence relating to the complaint or grievance by e-mail or by post to the ASIC office postal address. If the evidence you have supplied is believed to require further investigation, ASIC will contact the institution directly to try and resolve the matter. Further information on complaints can be found in the ASIC Accreditation Handbook.
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Is or will my qualification be valid/acceptable in a particular institution or country?

You should contact the issuing institution or the institution where you wish to study for advice on this matter.
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