The Federal Constitution of the Swiss Confederation mandates the Confederation and the cantons to work together in order to ensure quality assurance in the higher education sector. To this end, the Federal Act on Funding and Coordination of the Swiss Higher Education Sector (Higher Education Act, HEdA) created a mandatory institutional accreditation. This is a precondition for the right to use the designations "university", "university of applied sciences" or "university of teacher education".
The Swiss Accreditation Council is the joint body of the Confederation and the cantons for accreditation and quality assurance in the Swiss higher education landscape and is the accreditation authority for accreditation procedures within the meaning of the HEdA.
The aim of institutional accreditation is to increase the national and international visibility of universities, to serve as an information and decision-making tool, to help strengthen the good image of the universities and to improve the international recognition of degrees and diplomas.
In order to carry out institutional and program accreditation procedures, the Swiss Agency for Accreditation and Quality Assurance (AAQ) was established in 2015, reorienting the activities of the former Accreditation and Quality Assurance Agency (OAQ) created in 2001. The OAQ is a member of the European Association for Quality Assurance in Higher Education (ENQA).
In addition to this educational context, there are also federal and cantonal legal and regulatory requirements for public administrations and universities.