Many young people who passed their final exams last summer have chosen not to start their studies yet. They’re waiting for the basic study grant to be reintroduced in the academic year 2023/2024 and have therefore taken a gap year. With coronavirus restrictions a thing of the past, a gap year is also more attractive, the umbrella organizations Universities of the Netherlands and the Association of Universities of Applied Sciences said.
Universities registered about 60,000 new students last summer. Of the young people who obtained their VWO diploma last summer, 67 percent started studying at a universality. “In recent years, this has been between 72 and 75 percent,” according to the Universities of the Netherlands.
Almost 108,000 first-year students started their studies at the universities of applied sciences. That is over 5 percent less than a year earlier. Nursing was particularly unpopular – new registrations fell by almost 18 percent. The number of students who signed up for PABO to become primary school teachers increased by nearly 3 percent. Minister Robbert Dijkgraaf of Education said he was pleased with the increase at teacher training colleges. “Hopefully, that will continue. Society desperately needs those teachers.”
Over 85,000 university students came from other countries, mainly in the European Union. That is about 7 percent more than last year, but the increase is leveling off. In several student cities, international students struggle to find accommodation. “We have to control that influx in order to achieve a better balance in the education system,” said Minister Dijkgraaf. He will present proposals to achieve that soon.
The universities expect the total number of students to increase in the coming years. About 340,000 people are currently enrolled at the universities. In five years’ time, there will be about 400,000. The institutions will then receive less money per student. “Student numbers are expected to grow again, which will further increase the workload of employees and put pressure on the quality of education,” said Pieter Duisenberg, chairman of Universities of the Netherlands
Reporting by ANP
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