MAASTRICHT. The number of first-years who started a bachelors' or master's in Maastricht after the summer has risen by 3.8 per cent to a total of 7,396. In addition, another 103 pre-master's (bridging programme students) also started their studies, increasing the total number of newcomers by 5.3 per cent. This is the outcome of the ‘provisional 1 October count’ by Maastricht University.
The majority of first-years are from the Netherlands (3,163; plus 2 per cent). The influx of Dutch students, which had dropped in 2015 and 2016, has been increasing again since last year. The number of Germans choosing the UM - the past two years had seen a decline of 10 and 8 per cent, respectively - is also up (1,517; plus 3 per cent). In addition, more and more Belgians are finding their way to a Maastricht bachelor's or master's study (603; plus 6.3 per cent), just like students from other European countries (1,571; plus 7.5 per cent) and from outside Europe (541; plus 4.2 per cent).
The increase on a national level is 5 per cent (largely the result of an influx of foreign students), while the education ministry expected an additional 2 per cent. Last year, the ministry’s forecasts were also wide of the mark. The underestimation then led to a budget deficit and eventually to a so-called efficiency deduction: a cut for all education sectors from 2021, amounting to 183 million euro and to which higher education and research will have to contribute almost fifty million from 2021. University association VSNU fears that with this new estimation error there will be even greater shortages in academic education.