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Netherlands: int’l growth slows for first time

The number of international students at universities in the Netherlands increased by approximately 6,000 this academic year – the slowest level of growth for five years.

The total number of students at universities in the Netherlands remains level with last year. Photo: Pexels

The total number of domestic and international students remains level with last year

Since 2017, the growth rate of international students has consistently reached over 12%, but this year’s numbers represent an increase of only 7%. This is also the first year that growth has slowed at all. 

This may be due to universities warning international students to avoid travelling to the country if they have not arranged accommodation, said sector body Universities of the Netherlands, which released the new data. 

The country faces severe housing shortages, with some foreign students forced to live in hostels at the beginning of the current academic year. 

The total number of domestic and international students remains level with last year at approximately 340,000, following a drop in enrolments in master’s programs. 

“The expectation is that student numbers will continue to increase in the years ahead”

Speaking to The PIE earlier this month, the Dutch minister for education, culture and science, Robbert Dijkgraaf, said the government was aiming “to have a sustainable higher education system that is not eroded by an uncontrollable amount of students”. 

The Dutch government committed €200 million in June to support university recovery under a coalition agreement. 

“The stabilisation of student numbers at our universities gives us the space to use the substantial investments from the coalition agreement to get the fundamentals in order when it comes to workloads and more time for research,” said Pieter Duisenberg, president of Universities of the Netherlands.

“However, the expectation is that student numbers will continue to increase in the years ahead.” 

The Netherlands’ 85,500 international students make up a quarter of all students at the country’s universities, with the majority of non-nationals coming from other European countries. 

The number of international students enrolled in bachelor’s courses increased by 11% compared to the previous academic year, while master’s programs saw only 500 new enrolments. 

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