There is mounting criticism in Belgium of the number of Dutch students opting to go to cheaper Belgian universities, news agency ANP reports on Monday.
'Some EU countries are making higher education so expensive in their own lands that others are having to carry the costs,’ a senior education official says in Monday’s De Standaard.
The paper’s research shows 917 Dutch students are now registered at the University of Antwerp, up from 658 a year ago. In Ghent, there are now 326 first-year Dutch students, up by almost one third.
Dutch students have to pay basic fees of nearly €1,800 to study in the Netherlands. In Belgium fees are €600.
Noël Vercruysse told the paper a student costs the government €10,000 a year. ‘It is problematic if we have to finance a large group of students who are not part of our society. Most Dutch students go back,’ she told the paper.
At the same time, thousands of foreign students study in the Netherlands, many of whom take advantage of cheaper Dutch fees.
Some universities, such as Maastricht, advertise heavily abroad, particularly in England where fees now top €8,000 a year for most courses.
According to figures published by Nuffic in August 2011, the number of foreign students in the Netherlands rose from 7% to 10% of the total over the past five years.
There are now around 82,000 foreign students at Dutch universities and colleges.
They come from 61 different countries. Germany tops the list with 46%, followed by China and Belgium.