Thursday 18 August 2022

International students may stay away due to coronavirus doubts

Delft students in the sunshine. Photo Przemyslaw Pawelczak

Hundreds of youngsters who had been coming to study in the Netherlands have scrapped their plans because of uncertainties caused by the coronavirus crisis, according to research by international education bureau Nuffic.

A survey among 941 potential students from outside the EU showed that 80% were still interested in a place at a Dutch university. Whether this will result in actual applications is unsure, Nuffic said.

A quarter of the students who had planned on coming said the uncertainties about travel restrictions and fewer possibilities to get grants had changed their minds. Four in 10 said they still wanted to go ahead and 36% said they didn’t know.

Several Nuffic offices also reported that interest in coming to the Netherlands will also depend on whether classes are online or offline. ‘For an international student, the experience of living in the Dutch society, including travel and leisure activities, is one of  the main reasons of studying in the Netherlands,’ Nuffic said.


Dozens of international students have been in touch with about the problems they are currently experiencing studying in the Netherlands.

Sneha Vaishali, who is currently studying at the University of Delhi and is due to start a Masters in physics and astronomy in September told earlier that if her course were only taught online it would ‘significantly affect’ her decision to move to the Netherlands.

‘Paying a high international tuition fee and not being able to access the classroom teachings, or have exposure to the research environment and infrastructure, doesn’t seem to be worth it,’ she said

One in eight

International students currently make up 12% of the Dutch student body, and some 25,800 are from non-EU countries.

Research published by the government’s macro-economic think-tank CPB last September said that even after the cost of sending Dutch students abroad is deducted from the total, foreign students from outside the EU generate up to €94,000 each for the government.

This is because their fees are much higher and around 30% of them remain in the Netherlands after graduation to work, the CPB said.

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