The independent colleges higher education sector in Ireland operates within a robust national and internationally benchmarked quality assurance system. The system is underpinned by national legislation and overseen by Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI). It is also informed by, and compliant with the standards adopted in the European Higher Education Area under the Bologna Process.
The statutory responsibility for the external quality assurance of all public and private higher education institutions in Ireland resides with the national agency, Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI). Under its legislative remit, QQI is responsible for the establishment of the policy framework under which external quality assurance operates, and it acts as the validating body for FE and HE awards across the privately funded college's sector, in Ireland.
The processes by which independent colleges agree their QA systems with QQI, have programmes validated and revalidated, are continuously monitored, and institutionally reviewed, are widely recognised as among the most rigorous across Europe. HECA membership is restricted to established independent higher education providers who are accredited by QQI in Ireland.
Each HECA provider maintains and continuously reviews a QQI approved comprehensive quality framework which places continuous improvement of the learner experience at its core. Quality Assurance Policies of each provider are generally framed in the context of the Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance in the European Higher Education Area (ESG), and the policies of Quality and Qualifications Ireland.