Netherlands: 220 Fewer International Students Enroll in Bachelor’s Programs

Netherlands Europe International Studies Higher Education News by Erudera News Feb 08, 2024

Person biking in Groningen, Netherlands

The number of first-year international students enrolled in Bachelor’s programs at Dutch universities has begun to decline after a period of significant growth.

Data indicate there were 220 fewer international students in undergraduate courses in the Netherlands last year, Erudera.com reports.

The current number is 18,594 international students, accounting for 31 percent of the new intake. This decline has been attributed to the government’s efforts to reduce the number of international students amid a housing crisis in the Netherlands.

A decrease of more than 1,700 international students pursuing Master’s degrees for the first time in a Dutch university was also recorded in 2023 compared to the 2021/22 academic year.

Last year, universities also witnessed a drop in the number of domestic students, which decreased by about 900 students.

“The number of international students starting a Master’s degree programme did increase by 550 students. This means that the increase in international intake in Master’s programmes consists largely of students who were already studying at Dutch universities,” Universities of the Netherlands (UNL).

Data released in November last year showed that 340,700 students were enrolled at Dutch universities by that date, 700 students more than the last academic year.

In April of 2023, the Dutch government presented plans to manage the influx of international students in the Netherlands. Plans included a cap on international students and limiting English-taught courses in an attempt to encourage international students to learn Dutch.

This education bill requires universities to teach at least two-thirds of Bachelor courses in Dutch unless a university provides a valid reason for exemption.

On April 21, 2023, Dutch Minister of Education, Robbert Dijkgraaf, sent a letter to the House of Representatives in the Hague, mentioning the dramatic increase in the number of international students in the Netherlands, which he explained was 3.5 higher than in 2005.

“There are high-growth technology sectors that are desperate for new international talent. But it should also be possible to manage the number of students arriving here, where necessary. Left unchecked, the current numbers will lead to overcrowded lecture halls, excessive workloads for lecturers, a lack of student accommodation, and reduced access to study programmes,” Dijkgraaf wrote.

The Netherlands continues to be one of the top study destinations in the world, rankings reveal. According to data by Nuffic, 122,287 international degree students were studying at higher education institutions in the Netherlands during the 2022/23 academic year, accounting for 15 percent of the total students.

Nearly 40 percent of first-year students at Dutch universities hailed from other countries in 2023, compared to only 28 percent in 2015.

© Denise Jans | Unsplash

Related links:

>> Dutch Education Council Suggests Govt to Reconsider Plans to Reduce Int’l Student Numbers

>> Study: Over 80% of International Students Choose to Stay in Netherlands Due to Career Opportunities

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