Stay in the loop! Subscribe to our mailing list

Dutch universities under pressure

Dutch universities expect more registrations for the Bachelor’s programmes in the coming academic year. Forecasts show that the numbers of applications will increase by around 5%. Last year the number of registrations grew by 13%.

The number of students has doubled in the past 20 years from 164,000 students in 2000 to 327,000 in 2020 but funding per student has decreased by 25%. Government funding is disproportionate to the increase in the number of students. This trend is also capture by the EUA Public Funding Observatory: student numbers have been growing at a much faster pace than public funding in 2008-2020 (+38% vs +20%), so the funding growth cannot fully accommodate the universities’ needs with regard to the quality of learning and teaching as well as the research and innovation capacity.

Brexit also plays a role. After UK’s withdrawal from the Erasmus+ programme, foreign students are more likely to choose other European countries, including the Netherlands. International students make up to 12% of the total number of university students in the Netherlands and these numbers continue to grow. The Association of Universities in the Netherlands (VSNU) has warned that universities may have to cap the number of international students, particularly those coming from outside the EU, unless more public funding is provided to support universities.