TU/e had until December 1st to report officially to the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science (OCW) which programs will carry a ceiling on student intake in the coming academic year, and the intake limit for each program. For this academic year, four programs already had a ceiling on student intake - Biomedical Engineering, Industrial Design, Computer Science & Engineering and Industrial Engineering - and they will again have ceilings in this next academic year. In addition, for 2019/2020 ceilings will be introduced for Architecture, Building and Planning and Mechanical Engineering.
For Biomedical Engineering the intake limit for this year was set at 225 first-years. But according to the TU/e's business intelligence system, only 155 first-years enrolled in this program. Thus, far fewer than had been expected and considerably fewer than in the two preceding academic years 2017-2018 (240 first-years) and 2016-2017 (246 first-years). Years in which no ceiling on student intake was yet in force.
Rob Debeij, Managing Director of BMT, says that the department was pretty surprised by the low intake, "and it's no secret that we weren't happy about it. After all, we base our plans for the future on achieving the limit." According to Debeij, the introduction of the ceiling on student intake caused many prospective students to decide against taking the compulsory decentralized test, and they showed a "flight response. In the Netherlands there are programs competing with BMT that don't have an intake ceiling. That presents the prospective student with an easy choice," says Debeij. "In info sessions during open days, we now make it perfectly clear what the cap involves and what a prospective student should expect of this kind of decentralized test. We do this to take away the fear that it is really taxing and difficult. It certainly helps that the limit has been raised for next year. That means even more chance that there'll be a place for you."
Drop in intake
Similarly, the other three programs applying a ceiling on student numbers this year saw their intake decline. Industrial Design had a limit of 150, but ended up with 130 first-years. Computer Science & Engineering set the limit at 250, but eventually got 187 first-years. At Industrial Engineering there was thought to be space for 250 first-years, but ultimately only 166 arrived.
Why the intake to the programs has been so much lower than the expected intake and the figures for the preceding years is a matter the Executive Board wants studied. Professor Lex Lemmens, Dean of the Bachelor College, says that interviews on this topic will be held with the first-years who did indeed enroll, “but certainly also with those who made it through selection but ultimately did not come here to study. We will be telephoning some of this group to ask them about their reasons. We are keen to use the findings in the selection process for the new academic year.”
In any event, it has been decided to increase the intake limits for the coming academic year for all programs. Thus, the limit at BMT will rise from 225 to 275, at ID from 150 to 180, at Computer Science & Engineering from 250 to 275, and at Industrial Engineering from 250 to 275. For the two programs with first-time ceilings, the limits have also been raised. At Architecture, Building and Planning the limit on student intake will rise from 225 to 275 and at Mechanical Engineering from 300 to 330. With these measures, Rector Magnificus Frank Baaijens hopes to see an increase in next year's actual intake figures.