Draft Legislation to Limit Influx of Foreign Students and English Programmes Goes to Dutch Parliament - Council of State criticizes - saying the law will be ineffective
Fewer scholarships and higher fees are what non-EU students planning to study at public universities in the Netherlands will face, should new cabinet proposals to deal with the influx of international students, come into force.
It is unclear whether the proposals, introduced in a letter to parliament by the Dutch minister of education, culture and science, Ingrid van Engelshoven, will also apply to privately funded institutions like Wittenborg University of Applied Sciences that do not receive public funding from the state, and thus set their own fees.
Wittenborg's executive chair, Peter Birdsall comments "I think that the minister assumes that independent universities would always ask a higher fee than public ones. This is not always the case, but we shouldn't be worried that these measures will effect us in any way. Being privately funded means being independent of these sorts of measures".
It is unclear whether the proposals, introduced in a letter to parliament by the Dutch minister of education, culture and science, Ingrid van Engelshoven, will also apply to private institutions like Wittenborg University of Applied Sciences, that do not receive public funding from the state and, thus, set their own fees.
Council of State Critical
The proposals are part of the Bill on Language and Accessibility, which was submitted to the House of Representatives (Tweede Kamer) on Friday. However the Council of State (Raad van State) which advises government and parliament on new legislation has stated that the proposed law will have little effect on limiting the numbers of international students, and that the terms used in the proposal are vague and would actually make it easier for Dutch universities to
Despite the fact that international students give the Dutch economy a huge boost by contributing thousands of euro to state coffers, there has been mounting concern about the meteoric rise in their numbers, as well as the steady growth of English-taught programmes, especially master's programmes of which about 70% are now offered in English. Foreign students currently account for 11.5% of the total student population in the Netherlands - twice the number 10 years ago.
According to Van Engelshoven, the number of international students cannot be allowed to get out of hand.
Non-EU Students Coming to Holland Face Higher Fees and Fewer Scholarships at Public Universities Under New Bill
"An interdepartmental policy study has shown that this will put pressure on the financing, quality and accessibility of education. To create more balance, cabinet wants to review the rules which guide education not offered in Dutch, increase the minimum study fees for students from outside the European Economic Area (EEA), and introduce tools to put a cap (numerus fixus) on the non-Dutch pathways of programmes."
Currently, the number of foreign students in the Netherlands is five times higher than that of Dutch students studying abroad. In pursuit of a more balanced situation, the ministry wants to redirect funds away from Nuffic Nesos abroad to strengthen the knowledge diplomacies within its embassies. The number of Holland Scholarships will also be reduced, while scholarships for Dutch students to study abroad will be doubled.
The Bill proposes that a numerus fixus does not have to apply to an entire programme, but is possible for a non-Dutch pathway of a programme where there is a capacity problem, subject to approval by the minister. This would guarantee the availability of the Dutch pathway of the programme.
Tution Fee Rise
Student fees for non-EEA students will also be regulated by the Bill, meaning students will have to pay a minimum fee equal to the maximum fee for EER students. Science Guide reported in July that bachelor's students from outside the EEA would pay at least €7,612 in tuition fees, or €15,178 if attending a university of technology. Master's programmes will cost a minimum of €29,452 year.
Wittenborg's fees are currently at €7,500 per year for bachelor's and set to rise to €8,900 in 2020. Total tuition master's fees vary between €12,600 for MSc and €14,300 - €18,300 for MBM and MBA.
Student fees for non-EEA students will also be regulated by the Bill, meaning students will have to pay a minimum fee equal to the maximum fee for EEA students. Science Guide reported in July that bachelor's students from outside the EEA would pay at least €7,612 in tuition fees, or €15,178 if attending a university of technology. Master's programmes will cost a minimum of €29,452 year.
See the Proposed Bill here: https://www.rijksoverheid.nl/documenten/kamerstukken/2019/09/06/kamerbrief-met-kabinetsreactie-op-het-interdepartementaal-beleidsonderzoek-internationalisering-van-het-hoger-onderwijs
Also in ScienceGuide (Dutch): Toch numerus fixus op Engelstalige tracks
by Anesca Smith
©Wittenborg University Press