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Lecture fees for non-European students should not be too low

Not only the cost price of a study programme, but also the international market are the cause of the huge differences in lecture fee rates for non-European students. This is one of the outcomes of an inventory by Transfer among schools of higher education and universities.

Non-European students pay a small fortune to do a bachelor's or master's study in the Netherlands. In 2004, the ‘market’ for lecture fee rates for students from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) was decontrolled. Since 2008, institutes no longer receive government subsidies (about five thousand euros per year) per student. Schools of higher education and universities are partly compensated with an amount that is included in their fixed funding. They are allowed to pass on the rest of the costs to students by increasing the institute’s lecture fees.

But rates of Dutch institutes differ considerably from each other. For instance, an arts, humanities or social sciences bachelor's study at Radboud University costs 2,840 euros, but at the VU University Amsterdam, students pay nine thousand euros. To study medicine in Maastricht costs twelve thousand euros, whereas Groningen charges 32 thousand euros.  

The institutes admit to Transfer that the rates are not just determined by the costs: “Non-European students think that a study cannot be good if it is too cheap,” says the head of internationalisation from the University of Twente in Transfer.

Not all institutes believe that higher rates attract more foreign students. That is why they are thinking about offering (talented) students a grant.


HOP, Marijke de Vries



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