Thursday 27 January 2022

Universities expect more students to sign up, call for better funding

Photo: Pixabay

Dutch universities expect more students will sign up for a bachelor’s degree in the coming academic year, and that includes an increase in international students, the university association VNSU said on Friday.

‘Our initial prognoses suggest the number of students registering for university will rise by 5%,’ VNSU chairman Pieter Duisenberg said. Last year student numbers rose nearly 13% and this year’s rise will only increase the financial pressure on universities, he said.

The next government, he said, ‘will have to ensure a structural increase in our basic financing.’

The number of students attending one of the Netherlands’ 13 universities has doubled to 327,000 in 20 years, but government funding per student has gone down 25%.

‘Without extra investment, there will be consequences for the quality of education, the pressure will increase on staff and the Netherlands’ expertise and innovation will be damaged,’ Duisenberg said.


Some 40,000 international students have so far registered for a degree, but most will not end up taking a place here. In the current academic year, almost 35,000 international students signed up, but just 15,500 started a course.

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Duisenberg told broadcaster NOS that foreign students who had planned to attend university in England will now be more likely to opt for other European countries, including the Netherlands.

‘International students are crucial for the quality but their number must be manageable,’ he said. ‘Think, for example, of setting a maximum number for students from outside the EU or a maximum number of students per course.’

Unlike universities, hbo colleges expect a 7% reduction in student numbers in the coming academic year. However, they too have noted a rise in interest from international students.

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