Friday 07 May 2021

Student numbers rose over 10% last year, and more EU students came to NL

A meeting for international students in Leiden. Photo: Brandon Hartley

Thousands more students started degree courses at universities and colleges this year, as the coronavirus pandemic put paid to plans to take a gap year and travel, according to official figures published on Thursday.

And although fewer students came from outside the EU, more Europeans signed up to study at Dutch universities.

The number of first year university bachelor students rose 13% and there was a 19% rise in the number of graduates signing up for a master’s degree. Economics, law, and the social and behavioral sciences showed the strongest growth in student numbers.

In total, 124,683 new students signed up for an hbo college course, up 10% on 2019, with teacher training, nursing and technical subjects attracting significantly more new recruits.

The coronavirus crisis is demanding a lot of students and the universities, Pieter Duisenberg, chairman of the university association VNSU said.

‘Student numbers have been growing fast for years and now coronavirus has added a lot more,’ he said. ‘That is why we are in talks with the education ministry to ensure that our funding is increased now, rather than two years later, as is the norm.’

Foreign students

The coronavirus also had an impact on the number of foreign students coming to the Netherlands, with non-EU student admissions dropping by 4% at universities and 5.7% at hbo colleges.

However, more European students signed up for a Dutch university course, taking the total increase in foreign student numbers to 13%, the VNSU said.

British students were counted as EU students last year, but it is still too early to say what the impact of Brexit has been, the VSNU said.

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