During the previous academic year, 47,000 international students were attending universities in the Netherlands. By the 2023-2024 academic year, this number may well rise to 70,000 students, says the ministry. The ministry has drawn up estimates all the way up to 2061, but is unwilling to make any hard predictions for the period after 2024. It says the number of Dutch students can be properly estimated, but the number of international students cannot. The predictions for the period after 2024 are solely based on demographic trends.

In the last few years, the ministry’s estimates of the number of international students have proved to be incorrect. More students came to the Netherlands than expected, which contributed to a hole in the ministry’s budget. The Ministries of Education and of Finance are currently trying to find a way to make the estimates more precise.

Source: Ministry of Education 2018. Including international students. Programs are divided over bachelors or masters. Very uncertain from academic year 2024/25. Image credit: Hoger Onderwijs Persbureau

Fewer students attending universities of applied sciences

The Ministry of Education believes that, unlike Dutch universities, Dutch universities of applied sciences jointly will never again have as many students as they did last year. In the 2017-2018 academic year, the full-time degree programmes taught at universities of applied sciences attracted some 400,000 students. The ministry’s forecasters expect this number to drop to fewer than 350,000 in the next twenty years. After that, the number will go up again.

Source: Ministry of Education Image credit: Hoger Onderwijs Persbureau