Netherlands Sees Strong Growth in Number of International Students in 2020 Despite COVID-19
The Netherlands has seen more than a 10% growth in the number of international students despite COVID-19 disrupting education around the world. This is according to preliminary numbers compiled by the Association for Dutch Universities (VSNU). It is largely due to an increase in students from the EEA (all EU students, plus Liechtenstein, Norway and Iceland).
In total, the number of students who signed up for bachelor's and master's programmes at Dutch universities this year was 328,000 - an increase of 8% - which includes both Dutch and international students.
The VSNU says the rise in student numbers stems in part from the 15% increase in the number of first-year students who are no longer able to take a gap year because of coronavirus. In addition, there has been a 10% increase in the number of college students signing up for a pre-master’s university course.
The number of EEA students streaming into the Netherlands increased by between 10 – 12% compared to last year, while there was a drop in the number of students from outside the EU. "It is great that international students continue wanting to study in the Netherlands despite the corona crisis. In 2019, the Central Bureau of Statistics found that international students are still a benefit to the Netherlands even after graduating," the VSNU statement reads.
Chair of the VSNU Pieter Duisenberg said the past 20 years the number of students has doubled. "In the year 2000, there were still around 165,000 students. Now it has doubled to around 328,000. Thanks to the coronavirus there has been an even quicker increase. The growth puts pressure on universities and their workers. We, therefore, plead for a structural investment in research-based education.
"During the corona period, universities are doing their best to continue offering high-quality education. International talent recognises this quality and the appeal of the Netherlands as an open-knowledge society with strong links to the rest of Europe and the world."
by James Wittenborg