Universities relax requirements for BSA after all

In view of the coronavirus crisis and the most recent lockdown, the 14 Dutch universities have decided to lower the requirements for binding study recommendations (BSAs) by 10 to 15 percent for the current academic year after all.

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According to the Association of Universities in the Netherlands (VSNU), universities have been monitoring student progress very closely in recent months. Because in the universities’ eyes students are meeting their targets, they are standing by the BSA.


However, because the wellbeing of students has come under tremendous pressure, especially since the lockdown was extended by three weeks, the universities have now collectively decided – as the universities of applied sciences did before – to show leniency in issuing BSAs.

Each university will shortly publish their individual policy as regards this decision. One way or the other, first-year students will be required to complete fewer credits to progress to their second year of study.

Moreover, universities will be able to adjust the BSA rules further, if they deem it necessary. This could be the case for programmes that are truly incapable of providing certain courses, especially practical courses. Students will be informed about these changes before 1 February. Universities will still be able to make exceptions for individual students who get into a tight spot, as was always the case.

A good beginning

Student organisation ISO is happy with the leniency for students: “The universities are showing that this is not a normal year”, says chair Dahran Çoban. She’s pleased that institutions have listened to earlier calls for action.

The Dutch Student Union also calls this more lenient approach “a good beginning”. Chair Lyle Muns would be happier to see the BSA done away with altogether, "but, for the time being, this relaxation of the requirements at least takes some of the pressure off”.

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