Reducing Int'l Student Intake in the Netherlands: Ministry Has No Fixed Numbers Yet

Netherlands Europe International Studies Higher Education News Statistics by Erudera News May 05, 2023

Dutch Minister of Education Robbert Dijkgraaf

The Dutch Minister of Education, Culture and Science, Robbert Dijkgraaf, plans to implement concrete measures to control international student enrollment in the Netherlands. However, there are still no fixed numbers for how many international students will be able to study in the Netherlands in the upcoming years.

A spokesperson for the Dutch Ministry of Education said that the Minister wants to take steps in this regard as he claims that the number of international students, if left unchecked, will lead to overcrowded lecture halls, a high workload for lecturers, a lack of student housing, and reduced access to study programs.

“That is why the Minister of Education, Culture and Science, Robbert Dijkgraaf, intends to take a number of concrete steps to improve the management of international students coming to the Netherlands. However, he doesn’t have a specific number in mind,” the spokesperson told Erudera.

‌Another reason the minister intends to reduce the number of international students is to maintain the quality of education offered by Dutch universities and colleges and prevent pressure that would undermine the Netherlands’ international position.

“His aim is to strengthen that position. There’s a need for a brake as well as for an accelerator – and, above all, we need a steering wheel,” the spokesperson said.

Minister Dijkgraaf has proposed several steps to better manage the influx of international students, including a combination of legislation and agreements with certain institutions.

Data from Statistics Netherlands show a continual increase in the number of international students in the country since the 2005/06 academic year, when 33,040 overseas students enrolled at Dutch institutions to pursue studies. This figure increased to 122,290 students in 2022/23.

International Student Numbers  in the Netherlands Between 2012 & 2022

According to Nuffic’s annual report, known as “incoming degree mobility,” a total of 122,287 international students were enrolled in a full degree program in the 2022/23 academic year at Dutch higher education institutions. That was an increase of seven percent compared to the 2021/22 academic year.

>> Dutch Colleges Attracted Over 85,000 International Students in Fall 2022

Figures show that in 2022/23, international students in the Netherlands account for 15 percent of all student population in the country, which is a 13.7 percent increase from 2021/22. The report states that the increase has occurred partly because of fewer domestic students attending Dutch universities this year.

Earlier, minister Dijkgraaf had written a letter to the universities, asking them not to admit more international students. In the letter, he emphasized the importance of international students for the Netherlands but also said that the increase in international student intake was causing challenges in accommodation and pressure on teachers.

Image source: Twitter account of the Dutch Minister of Education, Culture and Science, Robbert Dijkgraaf

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