Hasselt University – Hasselt, Belgium

At the Hasselt University, measures to implement discounts for students were implemented. These measures were established by the non-academic staff/student services department. Currently, these measures support persons with disabilities, low-income students, first generation students, students/staff with a refugee or migrant backgrounds, LGBTQ students/staff and staff/students of colour. The offer is broadly designed so that students can use the facilities/support according to need, demand/interest.

The activities the department has carried out (in the last two years) with regard to equal access/inclusion/diversity are: support and counselling for students and university staff; lectures, workshops, seminars for students, faculty and non-teaching staff; and training courses for peer educators. At this university, training courses were the activities with the greatest impact because students developed lifelong skills, which can enhance their academic careers. The last innovative practise/tool introduced at Hasselt University when it comes to ensuring inclusion, diversity and equal access was the possibility for students to take advantage of a project grant, if they organize events for peers. In addition to activities to support inclusion, Hasselt University implements measures/activities to counter exclusionary and discriminatory practices through binding policy (legislation), strategy/action plan(s), recommendations/guidelines and preventive programmes. 

At the Hasselt University, the motivation for establishing this service was mostly to increase student participation in different, and broad, perspectives and interaction by lowering financial barriers. The factors crucial for the institutional leadership in deciding to establish a service for wider access/inclusion/diversity for students/staff were to correspond to the transversal policy areas: inclusion, sustainability, internationalisation, Lifelong Learning, complementary to other initiatives. This is a successful service because students are encouraged in various ways to participate in existing activities or organize their own. There is opportunity: to participate in activities that bring students together (sports activities, cultural activities, KLIKapp); students to organize activities (association or non-specific interest groups) for fellow students with financial support from UHasselt; and to receive financial support if they participate in an activity in the existing cultural landscape.
Student Services initiates and coordinates student-centered initiatives. Input may come from students or central services. Partnerships, initiatives or supports requiring funding are discussed with students and at appropriate councils. Diversity, inclusion and equality topics are mentioned in the university’s strategies, policies and work plans. The programme design, as well as other activities, are decided internally among non-academic staff: Student Services department together with students. The programmer requires financial support that is validated by 2 separated boards, with representatives of academic staff, central services and students.
The main challenges to establishing this service was the communication with the target audience, publicizing the program and encouraging students to participate. The main obstacles to ensuring the long-term sustainability of the service is its yearly evaluation that is dependent of the needs of students. The service is funded by the university.
At Hasselt University, the success of this service is measured by using quantitative indicators such as the number of students using these services and by qualitative indicators by the grade of satisfaction of the students. The evaluation data is collected by financial expenses reported and the number of logged attendees in the services provided. The evaluation report is disseminated annually through the annual report of the Student Services department.

Measures to implement discounts for students (no D&I office), within the Student Services Department

Hasselt, Belgium