Threat of no grant leads more students to start a degree

There was a 7% rise in the number of students starting a university degree course in the Netherlands this year, while 5.8% more students signed up for hbo colleges, according to higher education association VSNU.

In total, 45,000 people started a university degree while 105,000 opted for the more vocational college system.

The increase is largely due to students skipping a gap year because of government plans to scrap student grants, the VSNU says in a statement. That plan has since been postponed.

Foreign students

The Netherlands’ 13 universities have a total of 248,000 students, which is a rise of 3.5% on 2012. Over 440,000 students are registered at an hbo college.

The VSNU also says some 11,000 foreign students are now taking courses at Dutch universities, an increase of 5% on the 2012 academic year. Most come from Germany, followed by China, Greece and Britain. Italy has pushed Belgium out to take fifth place.

Agriculture, technology and natural sciences booked sharp growth in the number of new students but social sciences and economics remain the most popular subjects. Law is down in popularity, probably due to the introduction of fixed student numbers, the organisation says.

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