Sharp increase in students at Dutch universities
In the current academic year that started in September, over 327 thousand students were enrolled at Dutch universities, an 8 percent increase compared to the previous year, the association of Dutch universities VSNU announced. The association attributes the big increase to the coronavirus pandemic, NOS reports.
More secondary school students passed last year due to the central exams being canceled, resulting in universities seeing a 14 percent increase in students from VWO. Coronavirus travel restrictions also meant that a gap year was also not an option for many students. The dropout rate was also lower, as the binding study advice for first years were relaxed so that they needed fewer credits to continue to the second year.
The number of registrations for master's programs increased by 19 percent. This is partly because it became easier to start a master's program while you're still busy with your bachelor's. The requirements for transferring from higher professional education to academic higher education were also relaxed.
Courses in the fields of economics, law, behavior, and society were particularly popular this academic year, all seeing a 10 percent enrollment increase on average. Education programs also saw a significant increase in students - 6 percent more students this year, while the previous academic year recorded a 7 percent decrease in students.
The ever increasing student numbers is demanding a lot from universities, VSNU president Pieter Duisenberg said, according to NOS. "Student numbers have been growing rapidly for years and now the corona crisis gave another big boost," he said. The number of students doubled in 20 years, according to the VSNU. The association is talking to the Ministry of Education about increasing funding for higher education. Duisenberg also wants the government to increase universities' grant per student and invest more heavily in science.