The tuition fees for EUR bachelor students from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) are rising sharply. In many programs, Non-EEA students face tuition increases at a rate much higher than their European classmates. Next year will see Non-EEA tuition in some bachelor programs increase by over 20%, with current students also subject to increases.

New students at the Erasmus School of Economics (ESE) for example, will be paying fees 1600 euro higher than students who enrolled last year. They will now pay 8,500 euro as opposed to the 6,900 euro charged this year. Current ESE students will also face a tuition increase, although they will be paying less than the new students. Ronald de Groot, spokesperson for ESE, advised that a transitional arrangement will be put in place, offering those already enrolled in ESE bachelor programs some reprieve from the 23 percent increase. Instead, their tuition will go up 300 euro to 7,200 euro in the next academic year. Although the faculty is yet to inform the four hundred plus affected students, De Groot has confirmed an official communication will be sent by the faculty at the end of May. At present, only the new rate of 8,500 euro is published on the website.

Students doubt program quality is increasing in line with fees

Whether the sharp rise in tuition for new students can be justified remains unclear for those already enrolled in ESE bachelor programs. Weiqi Dou (23), a second year IBEB student from China, believes the increase is linked to EUR’s position in global university rankings, and that the ‘increasing tuition fee seems a symbol of increasing rank’. Weiqi and fellow IBEB student, Chloe Le (22) from Vietnam, have both expressed doubt that the increase reflects improvement in the educational quality of ESE programs. New students can however, expect to benefit from ‘new facilities and a nicer campus’ according to Weiqi.

Non-EEA students have limited means of seeking employment due to restrictions which accompany their student-visa status here in the Netherlands. For this reason, many rely on support from family in order to finance their studies. Chloe was glad to learn of the proposed arrangement, and believes that it will be warmly recieved by those affected. “This arrangement is better, I could expect the gap to be around 300 euro, and other students would expect the same. My sister works to support my studies in Singapore, and this [7,200 euro] is definitely much better than the 8,500 euro. She will be glad,” Chloe said.

According to De Groot, the significant increase in tuition at ESE was based on a market evaluation and the desire to bring tuition fees in line with those charged at the Rotterdam School of Management (RSM). The fees for the International Business Administration (IBA) program offered by RSM will also increase slightly next year (up 3.7 percent). Adri Meijdam, Executive Director of IBA, confirmed that this, and the 100 euro increase the previous year were smaller in order to allow ESE the opportunity ‘to catch up’.

At new rate, students would seek alternatives

Meijdam advised that for some students, lower fees may suggest that a program is of ‘worse-quality’ to those on offer at other universities. Chloe disagrees, explaining that “one of the reasons I chose IBEB was because the fee was lower. If I was starting now I might be looking at other options, 8,500 is quite a lot compared to the 6,900 this year.” Weiqi agrees that the ‘unique high cost-performance, or quality to price ratio’ offered in the Netherlands, and at EUR, make it a good option for international students. “Although now I would consider RSM instead of ESE, since the tuition fee will be the same. RSM provide more internship opportunities, and of course, their ranking is higher,” he added.

From next year, ESE and RSM rates for Non-EEA students will be equal: 8,500 euro per year. However, it is expected that both faculties will again increase their tuition in 2016. According to De Groot and Meijdam, the rates will be based on ‘normal indexation’, and due to the weak euro, will likely increase. In the case of IBA, Meijdam expects this to be at a slightly higher rate than in previous years.

Non-EEA students following the International Bachelor in Psychology will also see their tuition fees go up, although at a much smaller rate of 3.4 percent. Although ESHCC will not increase their Non-EEA fees in the coming year, IBCoM tuition has already risen by 25 percent since 2012: from 5,500 to 6,900 euro this year.

For Dutch students and those from within the EEA, tuition will increase next year by 2.4 percent, from 1,906 to 1,951 euro. HK