Visa Crunch

Dutch Universities Receive Record Number Of International Student Applications

According to fresh figures revealed today, international students enrolled in record numbers at Dutch universities in the 2021/22 academic year. According to Nuffic, the Dutch government organisation for internationalisation in education, there are currently 115,068 international students in the Netherlands, a 12% rise from last year.

This comes on the heels of the announcement that overseas students now account for one in every four first-year students at Dutch universities, according to independent Statistics Netherlands (CBS) numbers issued on March 28.

As per CBS, the number of international students from Europe has “increased,” with Nuffic reporting that 72 percent of international students are from nations in the European Economic Area, which does not include the United Kingdom. German students continually make up the largest proportion of international students in the Netherlands, accounting for one-fifth of the population, however, CBS reported that the proportion of German students has declined while the proportion from all other European nations has climbed.

Furthermore, the number of students from the United Kingdom has dropped “almost a quarter” as a result of the “expected impact” of Brexit, with potential students from the United Kingdom now facing higher non-EU fees to study in the Netherlands. According to Nuffic, Brexit has had an impact on some of the demographic shifts in incoming students, with some European students stating that as a result, they are more inclined to opt to study in the Netherlands rather than the UK.

Universities in the Netherlands, on the other hand, have previously pushed the government to limit the number of international students admitted.

We see that for some degree programs, the number of international students is growing too fast to keep the quality of education high and the workload manageable,” said Ruben Puylaert, spokesperson for Universities of the Netherlands, which represents 14 Dutch universities.

As a result, the quality of education for all students, both international and Dutch, is under strain. Universities have requested the government to consider allowing them to set enrolment quotas for English-language tracks inside degree programmes, as well as the power to limit the number of non-EEA students admitted per degree programme. They have also requested that the government consider enabling them to establish an emergency quota to be utilised if “the number of applicants is expanding so rapidly that the degree programme is becoming challenging.”

Nuffic, which works on behalf of the Dutch Ministries of Education, Culture, and Science, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the European Commission, acknowledges these concerns in its report, stating that “the [Dutch] cabinet is aware of the increased number of incoming degree students and in their coalition agreement they pay specific attention to offering policy guidance to manage the flow of international students.”

“Housing is a significant concern here, and there are a lot of bills,” Jira Osarollor, a Nigerian student enrolled in a creative business degree in the Netherlands, explained.

He stated that the United Kingdom was his first choice for education, but he couldn’t discover any universities there that offered this specific subject. According to The PIE News, student housing shortages in the Netherlands are predicted to treble by the 2024-25 academic year, with around 22,000 students affected by housing shortages in 2020.

“We also have to keep an eye on the challenges posed by the growing number of students and discuss this with each other,” said Titia Bredée, director-general of Nuffic.

“At the same time, let us not lose sight of how valuable it is that students can receive education in such a diverse environment in which they can further develop their international skills. They desperately need it in the increasingly international labour market.

“In addition, international students can play an important role in our tight labour market after graduation.”

Legal Disclaimer: This article is provided for information purposes only.

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