De intro aan de TU/e in 2018. Foto | Bart van Overbeeke

Universities on course for 300,000 students

Dutch universities have continued to grow even more than expected last year. This is apparent from the final enrolment figures for the 2018-2019 academic year published by the Association of Universities in the Netherlands (VSNU). If this trend continues, universities can expect to enroll three hundred thousand students in September. What is striking is the number of transfers into Bachelor's programs from higher professional education (HBO). After final enrollment, a total of 11,966 students were registered at TU/e in 2018.

photo Bart van Overbeeke

According to the VSNU, a record number of 291,277 students is studying at Dutch universities this academic year. This represents an increase of 5.3 percent compared to last year, an extra 0.3 percent higher than was predicted in October.

“This growth is positive for the Netherlands as a knowledge society, but universities are faced with ever-increasing challenges in terms of workload and quality of education,” warns VSNU president Pieter Duisenberg.

Many prospective students have shown an interest in TU/e for the coming academic year as well, but their number is restricted by the fixed quotas for several study programs. Just recently, TU/e Chairman of the Executive Board Jan Mengelers expressed his concerns over possible legislation that would no longer make this possible.

Transfer students

What stands out on a national level is the increasing number of transfers of students from higher professional education (HBO). More than eleven thousand (former) HBO students started their university education this academic year, almost ten percent more than in 2017 and the highest number ever. And this while universities hardly receive government funding for these transfer programs. Two years ago parliament expressed concerns over the, at that time, stagnating number of students who transfer from the HBO. The majority of new Bachelor’s students – 56 percent – still has a pre-university (VWO) background.

The number of international students has increased again: of the total number of students enrolled in October, 19.2 percent come from abroad. Last year, their percentage was 17.5.

The VSNU has not published the enrolment figures for each individual university, only the total number of enrolments. The University of Amsterdam is still the largest university with over 34 thousand students, followed by Utrecht and Groningen.

Photo of the TU/e-intro in 2018. Photo | Bart van Overbeeke

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