“This growth is positive for the Netherlands as a knowledge-based society, but it presents increasingly greater challenges for us as universities when it comes to issues such as work pressure and quality of education”, warns VSNU President Pieter Duisenberg.

Transfer students

What is striking is the rise in the number of students transferring from universities of applied sciences. Around 11 thousand former university of applied sciences students commenced with a university degree programme this academic year, almost 10 percent more than in 2017 and the highest number ever. And this happened in spite of the fact that universities receive no government funding for the transfer programmes they offer these students. Two years ago, the Lower House voiced concerns at the time regarding the stagnating intake of students from universities of applied sciences.

The majority of the new bachelor’s students – 56 percent – still originate from pre-university education (VWO). The number of international students increased again: of all students enrolled at 13 universities as of October, 19.2 percent came from abroad. This was 17.5 percent in the preceding year.

While intake figures per university have not been published on the VSNU website, the organisation has published the total enrolment numbers. The University of Amsterdam remains the largest university with 34 thousand students, followed by Utrecht and Groningen.

The total enrolment numbers per university. Source: VSNU