Quarter of interested foreign students doubt whether they'll actually come to NL

Students in a lecture
Students in a lecturePhoto: kasto/DepositPhotos

International students are still interested in studying in the Netherlands, but a quarter of them doubt whether they'll actually be able to do so this coming academic year. They cite uncertainties caused by travel restrictions and limited financial opportunities as the reason, according to a survey conducted by Nuffic among 941 potential students from outside the European Union. 36 percent haven't yet make their final decision, NOS reports.

In the 2019-2020 academic year, over 25 thousand students from outside the EU studied in the Netherlands. That number increased over the past years. The Netherlands' office for economic policy analysis CPB previously calculated that these international students bring a lot of money to the Netherlands - around 96,300 euros per student - provided that they continue to work in the Netherlands after their studies.

A decrease in the number of international students could also be a problem for Dutch universities, association VSNU said to NOS. "You hire lecturers based on estimated numbers, if these numbers differ greatly, this will certainly have an effect," a spokesperson said. "We will have to see whether the influx will actually decrease."

A number of universities are already preparing or the possibility, VSNU said. Some universities are considering moving their start date from September to February, to give more time for travel restrictions related to the coronavirus to be lifted. Many are also looking at online options. "Currently, 90 percent of education is already given online, which indicates that universities can switch quickly," the spokesperson said. 

But according to Nuffic's survey, international students don't consider online education as a substitute for physical education. Only one in 10 said they'd prefer online studies. 21 percent said they'd rather postpone their studies and try again next year.