Minister of Education, Culture and Science Robbert Dijkgraaf wants to reform the binding study advice (BSA) system and has announced he will be submitting his proposal to the House of Representatives shortly. His predecessor Ingrid van Engelshoven had similar plans, but the House rejected her proposal in 2018. Motivating both education ministers is the same concern: students are under too much stress.

Uni material

“It’s stressful, sure, but it also keeps you from slacking off”, one student said on Instagram. Roughly half of the three hundred students who responded said the sixty-credit criterion boosts their academic motivation. One in three felt the bar is too high, resulting in anxiety. Erasmus University Rotterdam is the only university in the Netherlands with a hard requirement that first-year students complete all their credits. A small share of respondents said this was actually an incentive for choosing EUR.


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“If you lower the BSA standard, you also lower the lower the value of our degree”, one student argued. This idea was shared by many respondents. “If you can’t meet the BSA requirement, you’re not uni material. It’s as simple as that”, another said. Still, not everyone agreed. “It puts way too much pressure and stress on students”, one student wrote. Another said the BSA does not make them feel any more motivated, but it does create loads more stress. “That is the last thing we need in our super stressful world.”


Most students were positive about the current BSA system. “It’s a really good indication of whether I’m on the right path, or not”, one student wrote. Another respondent added, “It’s a good filter, because only the motivated students will remain.” And, echoing this: “Because the die-hards make it to the second year.” Nevertheless, a majority (52 per cent) would still feel motivated if the BSA requirement were eased.

To read all the responses, see Erasmus Magazine’s Instagram stories.