340,000 students enrolled in universities this academic year
- The number of students enrolled increased by 4%.
- The number of international students increased by 14.2%.
- The number of students from higher professional education enrolling in a university Master's programme increased by 7.7%
In the 2021-2022 academic year, 340,346 students are enrolled at Dutch universities. This is over 13,000 (4%) more than the record year 2020-2021, when there was an increase of 24,000 students (8%), partly due to the coronavirus crisis. This is evident from the final enrolment figures of the Universities of the Netherlands (UNL). The growing numbers of students will ensure that the pressure on universities remains unabated. The government funding per student has been falling for decades, and the employee workload continues to rise. Pieter Duisenberg, president of Universities of the Netherlands: ‘The coalition agreement includes substantial investments in academic education and research. We now need to use these in order to reduce the workload and properly sort out the foundations. In addition, we are asking politicians to quickly provide additional possibilities for the universities, so they can manage international student numbers in a targeted way. This is because the number of students at universities is expected to continue to increase in the coming years.’
More students from higher professional education enrolled in university Master's programmes
The total number of Bachelor's students has increased by 3.5% and the total number of Master's students by 4.9%. The increase is partly attributable to the number of higher professional education (HBO) students who are progressing to a Master's programme at a university. This number already increased by 21.3% last year; this year, there was an additional increase of 7.7%.
Managing international student numbers
The number of international students is also increasing, for both the Bachelor's and Master's programmes. This year, almost 80,000 international students are enrolled: 14.2% more than the previous year. Duisenberg: ‘International talent is essential, both for the quality of education and research at universities and for the Dutch labour market. However, for some of the degree programmes, the number of international students is growing too fast to keep the quality of education high and the workload manageable. Universities are therefore in urgent need of additional instruments that will allow them to continue responding to international student numbers. On 9 February, the House of Representatives will debate internationalisation in education. It’s the perfect opportunity to achieve this.’
To ensure that the positive aspects of internationalisation are retained in education, the universities have been calling for three management instruments since 2018:
- the possibility of setting an enrolment quota specifically for an English-language track within a degree programme (while the Dutch-language track remains open);
- the possibility of setting a maximum number of non-EEA students per degree programme;
- an emergency quota, to be used if it becomes apparent during the application procedure that the number of applications is increasing so rapidly that the degree programme is getting into difficulty.
An overview of all the available figures can be found here.