University of Amsterdam intends to limit international student numbers
The University of Amsterdam (UvA) plans to experiment with a quota to limit the number of international students from the next academic year. That is one of the “desperately necessary” measures the UvA will take to give Dutch students more opportunity to follow popular studies, UvA board chairman Geert ten Dam said to NRC.
The UvA plans to implement the quota on popular psychology and political sciences studies from the next academic year. Two-thirds of psychology students at the UvA now come from abroad, Ten Dam said. “We are reaching the point that Dutch students from Hoorn, Emmen, and Amsterdam-West cannot follow popular studies because students from abroad are out-competing them,” she said.
Universities aren’t allowed to discriminate by selecting students based on their nationality. Hence this experiment, Ten Dam said. The UvA wants to anticipate political decision-making on the topic and help Education Minister Robbert Dijkgraaf “explore whether a maximum number of international students leads to greater accessibility for Dutch students,” Ten Dam said.
Other Dutch universities would also like to slow down the number of international students. According to the umbrella organizations Universities of the Netherlands, universities would put a quota on international students in 20 study programs if they could. “Since 2018, we have been asking for legislation that makes it possible to introduce a fixed number of English taught bachelors while keeping the Dutch-language variant accessible. Not allowed. We also want programs to be able to say, for example, a maximum of 50 students from outside Europe. Also not allowed,” chairman Pieter Duisenberg said to the newspaper.
A massive shortage in student housing is also a problem. During the summer, multiple Dutch universities, including Utrecht University, the UvA, and the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, called on international students to change their study plans if they hadn’t found a place to stay by August.
“The national government does need to do more, but the UvA can also do something about it, such as eliminating some of the English language tracks,” Job Vermaas, the board member in charge of housing issues for Amsterdam student association ASVA, said to NL Times.
NL Times reached out to ASVA for a comment about the UvA’s plan to implement a quota on international students, but a spokesperson was not immediately available.
Most Dutch universities don’t want to grow any further, NRC found when surveying the higher education institutions. In the past two decades, the number of university students in the Netherlands doubled from 170,000 to 340,000. The number of international students grew from 6,500 in 2015 to 18,000 last year. That growth was not accompanied by extra funding. Only this year did the Cabinet set aside almost 1 billion euros more for additional staff and space.