This upsurge has a number of causes in which corona plays a key role. For instance, many more higher secondary school students (VWO) graduated because examinations were cancelled and also because fewer students were forced to leave the university because they did not pass their bsa.

In absolute terms, the number of enrolments rose by 3,080 to a total of 35,439.

Four reasons

The EUR cites four reasons for this increase. The first is in line with a trend that has already become apparent in recent years: An increased influx of VWO students.
The second is that the intake of VWO students is higher this year because more students graduated this past year and these students have also opted for an intermediate year to a far lesser extent. The number of VWO graduates enrolling this year is 3276 higher than in 2019, as in 9.3 per cent more.

The third reason is that bachelor students who were unable to complete their bachelor’s degree due to the impact of the corona pandemic were allowed to make use of mitigating circumstances. This means that they are already able to start a master’s degree while they can still re-enrol in a bachelor’s programme. A total of 476 Rotterdam students took advantage of this opportunity.

The fact that only 293 students received a negative Binding Study Advice – similarly on account of corona – means that there are invariably more re-enrolments. Last year, as many as 1170 students left the programme with a negative BSA. Up until now, the EUR was known as the university where the BSA was most strictly applied.

International students

Despite the global lockdown, the rise in international students this year is also considerably higher than that of previous years. In total, international students now account for 20.0 percent of enrolments. Their proportion rose by 864 to a total of 7,023 (+14.0 percent). The number of enrolments of new international students even rose by almost a quarter to 3,085 (+24.1 per cent). This constitutes 30.0 per cent of all new enrolments at the EUR.

Practically all faculties have seen an increase in the number of enrolments along with a rise in new enrolments. At the ESSB, the number of new enrolments fell by 5.0 per cent. This is because the bachelor’s degree in psychology has had a numerus fixus (a fixed number) in place as of this year, which means that fewer new students are admitted.

Growth spurt is increasing pressure

What the consequences will be for the deferral of the Binding Study Advice remains to be seen. “The coming year should reveal what the ramifications will be for the postponement of the Binding Study Advice,” Pieter Duisenberg, chair of the Association of Universities in the Netherlands (VSNU) said to the Dutch Higher Education Press Bureau. In his opinion, it is quite plausible that the drop-out rate will increase next year because some students might still get bogged down. All in all, he expects that the growth spurt will increase pressure on the universities and their staff. “This reinforces our calls for structural investment in academic education.”

Update 2 November: An earlier version of this article compared the number of preliminary enrolments at the EUR with the number of definite enrolments nationwide. This has been changed for the EUR to definite enrolments, which has slightly changed the percentages in the article.