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Fewer first-year students for universities

Fewer first-year students for universities

Photographer:Fotograaf: archive

Slight growth for UM

NETHERLANDS. Forty-four thousand first-year students embarked upon a university bachelor’s study in September. That is 2.4 per cent less than last year. The number of first-year students at Maastricht University has increased by 3.8 per cent. The total (bachelor’s and master’s) is 6,611 newcomers, 240 more than last year.

All in all, the Maastricht master’s programmes grew more (6 per cent; total 2,754) than the bachelor’s studies (2.3 per cent; total 3,756). In both the master’s and the bachelor’s programmes, the majority of first-year students are Dutch, followed by the Germans, Belgians and students from the rest of the European Union. A striking fact is the considerable increase of the Asian and Southern and Central American population for the master’s programmes.

On a national level, fewer pre-university secondary education students took up a study at a university (a drop of 6 per cent), whereas the number of foreign students rose by 8 per cent and slightly more students from higher professional education chose to do an academic bachelor (3.8 per cent increase).

This is the last year that students will receive a basic grant. That is why more than 80 per cent of pre-university secondary education students took up a study immediately after their final exams, according to the universities, and that is proportionately more than before. The fact that there are fewer students is a result of the number of school-leavers: there were simply fewer pre-university secondary education students.

The year before, there was also a rush on higher education as a result of the threat of high study debts and the borrowing system. However, the plans were put on hold for a year, which meant that a new batch of youths was given a final chance of the basic grant.

The majority of new students chose Law (6.3 per cent increase) and Engineering (3.2 per cent increase). The ‘multidisciplinary’ programmes such as the university colleges also attracted more students (11.4 per cent increase). Law and Psychology remain the largest programmes, followed by Medicine.

The number of registered students at universities has risen to a record high of 253 thousand because of the growth in previous years. Fewer students have graduated than the number of new students.

Figures also show that when students complete their bachelor’s studies they more often go to a different university. At the moment, almost 19 per cent of university bachelor’s graduates change university.

RJ/HOP

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