No Further Increase in Number of International Students in Netherlands

Netherlands Europe International Studies Higher Education News by Erudera News Nov 13, 2023


The number of international students in the Netherlands has stabilized, data from universities and colleges indicate.

International student enrollment remained the same as last year when institutions reported another surge. This is the first time in many years that universities in the country are not facing a large influx of students from all over the world, reports.

According to a report by NOS, fewer international students were enrolled in bachelor's programs the past summer, and the number of students coming for the first time in the Netherlands to pursue a master’s degree also marked a decline.

The universities of applied science have seen a slight decline in student numbers, with several sectors such as science and technology experiencing a six percent drop, healthcare a 3.5 percent decrease, and education experiencing a 0.5 percent drop.

“These figures show that the growth of international inflow at universities has come to a standstill,” Jouke de Vries, interim chairman of Universities of the Netherlands, told NOS, urging politicians not to take actions that would harm the quality of education.

Data from the Universities of the Netherlands (UNL), the body representing Dutch universities, showed a general rise in the number of master's students. However, over one-third of these students were already enrolled in academic programs in the Netherlands.

In the 2022/23 academic year, a total of 122,287 international students attended state-funded higher education institutions in the Netherlands, accounting for 15 percent of all student population in the country.

A report by Nuffic, the Dutch organization for international cooperation in education, revealed that 41,203 new international students were enrolled in bachelor’s or master’s programs. Of these, nearly 70 percent came from the EEA (28,688) and nearly 30.4 percent from outside the EEA (12,515).

“Of all students at research universities, 25.1 percent were international, compared to 7.7 percent at universities of applied sciences. Of all international students, 72.3 percent came from the European Economic Area (EEA) and 27.7 percent from outside the EEA,” the report states.

Last December, Dutch universities were asked to stop international student recruitment. The Dutch Minister of Education, Robbert Dijkgraaf, said the large numbers of students should not be left unchecked as it could lead to overcrowded classrooms, excessive workloads for professors, a lack of student housing, and reduced access to study programs.

International student numbers in the Netherlands have increased significantly over the past decade. There were 114,255 international students at Dutch universities in 2021, up from 101,831 in 2020 and 92,159 in 2019.

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