University – Private Education Institution

Last Update on 28/09/2020

Establishment and Operation of Private Universities

General Information

In order to establish and operate a private university in the Republic of Cyprus, a legal entity registered in the Republic of Cyprus needs to apply first, according to The Private Universities (Establishment, Operation and Control) Law 109 (I) of 2005.

Then it needs to register in the Register of Private Universities of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports and Youth to acquire a certificate of registration and obtain an Initial Licence or a Licence for the operation of such an establishment from the Minister.

An Initial Licence or a licence to establish and operate a private university in Cyprus can be granted only to a corporate body that satisfies the Minister of Education, Culture, Sports and Youth that the following requirements are fulfilled:

  • It is registered in the Republic under the provisions of any law;
  • In its memorandum and articles of association, it is stated that its purpose is the establishment and operation of a private university;
  • a person which has been convicted for an offence of moral obscenity or for an offence involving lack of honesty or  is a non-restored bankrupt or is a member of the public service or of the public educational service or a public organisation cannot be a member of its board of directors;
  • Adequate financial means to cover the costs of the private university’s operation are available.

In order to register in the Register and obtain an initial Licence of operation and of a licence of operation of a private university, the founder of the university or his legal representative, must submit an application to the Minister of Education, Culture, Sports and Youth. All the fees relevant to this application are payable to the Accounts’ Department of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports and Youth:

Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports and Youth
Department of Higher Education
Kimonos & Thoukydides Corner
1434 Nicosia
Tel.: +357 22800616, +357 22800617
Fax : +357 22427560
Email: dae@moec.gov.cy
Website: http://www.highereducation.ac.cy/

For more information and policy decisions regarding quality assurance and accreditation in higher education please contact the:

Agency of Quality Assurance and Accreditation in Higher Education
Lemesou Avenue, 5
2112 Nicosia
Tel.: +357 22504340
Fax : +357 22504392
Email: info@dipae.ac.cy
Website: http://www.dipae.ac.cy/

  1. The following forms of the Cyprus Agency of Quality Assurance and Accreditation in Higher Education (CYQAA), should be submitted with the application for the establishment of a private university, to the Minister:

    • Form Num.200.2-“Application for Institutional Evaluation –Accreditation;
    • Form Num. 200.1-“Application for Programmatic Evaluation –Accreditation (for each programme of study that will operate at the university).

    The Ministry of Education and Culture will forward the application to The Agency for Quality Assurance in Higher Education (The Agency) for evaluation.

    Ιn order to complete the application, applicants are encouraged to consult “The Private Universities (Establishment, Operation and Control) Law 109 (I) of 2005”. The application must be accompanied, among other documents, by the following ones:

    • A certified copy of the memorandum of association and the applicant’s articles of association and a certified copy of their certificate of registration as a corporate body;
    • The suggested Charter of the university;
    • The name, attributes, qualifications and address of at least seven persons who are nominated as members of the Temporary Administrative Board of the university, wherein a member of the academic staff is at least included for every suggested faculty;
    • Description of the immovable property and the premises at which it will operate or which the university will use, including any of its branches, and in case that whichever of those do not constitute university’s property, description of the legal arrangements under which the use thereof shall be secured;
    • The anticipated total number of students to study at the university, which should not be less than a thousand with a minimum number of two hundred and fifty students for the first year of studies, and the number of students of every Faculty and Department thereof;
    • The university’s development project, wherein the manner and methods of achieving its purposes are included in detail and a timetable to apply the project for the first four years of its operation;
    • Description of the assets and a project of economic planning and a viability study of the university and the income-expenses budget for the first four years of its operation;
    • The amount of tuition fees and other charges suggested for every student in the duration of the programme of his studies and determination of the duration of the study which concern the amount of tuition fees and other charges. Statement of the commitment of the university to inform the students for the amount of tuition fees and other charges to be paid per year through the entire duration of the programme of their studies; The amount of tuition fees and other charges as stated in this paragraph is valid till the request for their review by the university according to the provisions of the current legislation;
    • Details for at least three different Faculties that shall be operating on the commencement of its operation and which shall be covering different scientific sectors;
    • The number of teaching, administrative and the rest of the staff which shall be occupied at the university, the system of its salary payment and the duties of each one of them;
    • To be provided for to operate, within a ten-year period from the date of the coming into force of this Law, at the university of at least one postgraduate programme at Master’s level of twelve months duration;
    • A declaration signed by all members of the nominated Temporary Administrative Board of the university, wherein the duties of this Board shall be determined, among which there must be included:

    (i) The promotion of all the actions, which are deemed necessary for the commencement of operation of the university;
    (ii) The representation of the university at the contacts with the Agency;
    (iii) The selection of the first appropriate academic staff;
    (iv) The staffing of the university with the necessary administrative staff and its equipment with the necessary material and technical substructure;
    (i) The election and the formation before the commencement of operation of the University of the first bodies thereof provided by the Law.

    Additionally, the application must be accompanied by the following documents:

    • Certified copies of a clear criminal record of all the members of the Administrative Board;
    • Original statements of all the members of the Administrative Board that are not members of the public service or of the public educational service or of a public organization or of a legal person governed by public law or of a body corporate established under a law or the capital of which is given or guaranteed by the Republic;
    • Curriculum Vitaes of all the members of the Temporary Administrative Board;
    • Certified copies of the title deed and the topography designs of the premises intended for use by the university;
    • Certified copy of the Construction Permit;
    • Feasibility study of the university’s development project;
    • List of publications and research programmes of the teaching stuff.

For both institutional and programmatic evaluations, relevant fees are paid, as provided by the Annex of the relevant Legislation.

The fees prescribed are the following:

  • Institutional evaluation fee for universities which amounts to €17,000 per Department;
  • Departmental evaluation fee for universities which amounts to €13,500 per Department;
  • For programmes of study that last four (4) academic years full time or equivalent part-time at a Bachelors Level, €5.500;
  • For post-graduate programmes of study at a Masters Level, €7.000;
  • For post-graduate programmes of study at a Doctorate Level, €8.500.

The fees are payable either by cash or a personal cheque handed to the Accounts Department at the time of submission of the application which requires a signature.

A fee for the initial licence is calculated in accordance with the actual costs incurred by the team of experts assigned by the Agency.

After its submission, the application is forwarded to the Agency for examination and relevant recommendation to the Council of Ministers, via the Minister of Education, Culture, Sports and Youth. (The Agency can make one of the following recommendations):

  • Rejection of the application; or
  • Acceptance of the application; or
  • Postponement of the decision. The Agency can postpone only once and for a certain time period to make a decision, setting conditions to be fulfilled before proceeding to any decision.

The Council of Ministers decides on the acceptance or rejection of the application to register in the Register of Universities.

With this registration, the private university becomes a legal entity of private law with its own name and seal but cannot yet accept students.

No later than six months and every six months, the Temporary Governing Committee of the registered private university, submits a memorandum to the Minister, stating the progress that has been made in order to become ready for operation. The memorandum is forwarded to the Agency, which, after reviewing its content, can make one of the following recommendations to the Council of Ministers via the Minister of Education:

  • Provide an initial licence; or
  • Postponement of a decision for a certain time period, setting conditions to be fulfilled before proceeding to a decision.

The Council of Ministers can make one of the following decisions:

  • Provide an initial licence for operation lasting for four years and describe the date of commencement of its operation;
  • Postpone the decision for a certain time period; or
  • Reject the application in case the reasons for postponement are not rectified during the prolongation.

Only by securing the initial licence for operation the private university can accept students.

The Agency monitors periodically the operation of the private university under initial licence, submits annual reports to the Minister and if it deems expedient, submits relevant suggestions on the basis of which, the Minister has the power to propose to the Council of Ministers the suspension of the private university’s operation.

After the fourth year of the operation of a private university with initial licence, and after the submission by the University of a relevant progress report to the Minister, the Council of Ministers, after considering the above progress report of the University and the annual reports of the Agency, can make one of the following decisions:

  • Provide a licence of operation to the private university;
  • Suspend the initial licence of operation and demand the termination of the works and activities of the private university; or
  • Extend, for a period not greater than one year, the initial licence of the private university’s operation and impose specific terms with which the university is bound to comply during the prolongation.

A fee for the initial licence is calculated in accordance with the actual costs incurred by the team of experts assigned by the Agency.

Administrative Action against a Competent Authority’s Decision

Any person may file an Administrative Action at the Administrative Court against a decision, act, or omission of any competent authority or body.

Pursuant to Article 146 of the Constitution, an Administrative Action may be lodged within 75 days from the date of the decision or act or omission or from the day when such decision or act or omission was notified to the applicant.

The Administrative Court acts as a cassation Court and not as a substantive Court. In other words, the Administrative Court may:
I. Dismiss the Administrative Action
II. Annul wholly or partially the contested decision or act
III. Compel the relevant authority or body to take a certain action

After a decision is annulled, the authority and/or public body must reverse things back to the state prior to when the concerned decision and/or act was executed and reexamine.

Appeal Information

An Appeal may be filed against the Administrative Court’s first-instance decision within a period of 42 days from the date such a decision was given.

At the Supreme Court (Court of Appeal Section) hearing, the contested issue of the appeal remains the legality of the decision or act already adjudicated. However, such a revision of the legality of the decision or act is solely examined on the matters and the extent that the two parties have limited the reasons in the relevant notice of appeal.

The decision adopted by the Supreme Court is considered final in relation to the matter that has been judged.

After the secureness of a licence of operation by a private university, The Private Universities (Establishment, Operation and Control) Law 109 (I) of 2005 provides for its periodic evaluation every five years. The Agency can make inspections at any time of the university’s operation in order to verify the compliance of the university to its obligations as deriving from the provisions of the current legislation that governs the operation of private universities.

The university shall keep a Student’s Record wherein every student who has been accepted at the University is registered. The form of the student’s Record and the data registered therein must be described in the Charter.

The names of the institutions for which adverse observations will be recorded, after an audit carried out by the Agency on the basis of Article 17 (3) (g), will be published. The Legislation duly states the following:

“During the period of validity of the positive Accreditation decision, the Board of the Agency acting of its own motion or upon the recommendation of the Minister, may examine whether the Accreditation criteria continue to be met and if they are not met, then the Board of the Agency shall revoke the Accreditation decision and immediately inform the institution concerned and the Minister.