During the last 20 years, the changes within the Romanian higher education, as in the entire Europe and in many other parts of the world, were multiple and radical, as well as continuous. At the beginning of 1990, when the first private universities were set up in Romania, not only the number of universities and faculties, but also the number of programmes of studies / specialisations, rapidly increased. As a result of these diversifications and multiplications, Law no. 88/1993 was adopted, referring to the accreditation of higher education institutions and diploma recognition. In compliance with this law, the National Council for Academic Evaluation and Accreditation (CNEAA) was created, which carried out, during 1993-2006, constant activities of evaluation, institutional and programme accreditation.
Once with Romania’s participation in Bologna Process, as of 1999, the evolutions inside the European Higher Education Area required a new approach on the concepts and procedures of quality evaluation and assurance. Thus, ARACIS was established in 2005, in compliance with Government Emergency Ordinance no. 75/2005 approved with modifications by Law no. 87/2006. Although, according to the law, ARACIS took the patrimony and all rights and obligations, logistic infrastructure, technical staff and database of the National Council for Academic Evaluation and Accreditation, the new institution’s mission and way of operation are defined in compliance with the European trends established by higher education ministers in the conferences carried out every two years, as of 2001.
ARACIS is an autonomous public institution, of national interest, having a legal personality and its own income and expenditure budget. The agency is not submitted to political or any other types of interference. According to the legal provisions, ARACIS is funded as follows:
- income from service contracts for quality evaluation, concluded with the Ministry of Education, Research and Innovation inclusive;
- authorisation and accreditation fees of higher education institutions on study programmes, proposed by ARACIS and approved by Government decision;
- quality external evaluation fees, established by ARACIS and approved by Government decision;
- external non-reimbursable funds obtained by participation in international programmes, donations, sponsorships, other legally established sources.