The number of Dutch students studying in Belgium on a student grant, has increased by 7 per cent, to 4,620. This new figure was published in de Volkskrant this week.
Interest in a study in Belgium in growing steadily. Earlier this month, Nuffic, the organisation for international cooperation in higher education, announced in its magazine Transfer that the total number of Dutch students registered with Flemish universities and schools of higher education has increased from 5,257 to 6,088 this year. Those were provisional figures, which also included Dutch students who study in Flanders without receiving student grants.
Flanders is popular among Dutch students because it is cheap (a bachelor's or master's study costs less than 600 euros a year), but also because admission requirements are less strict. Studies such as veterinary science and medicine (which have strict entrance requirements and intake restrictions in the Netherlands), but also political and social sciences, psychology and educational science are popular.
However, the Belgians are not always very happy with this influx, because the study results of the Dutch are often abominable. “The best students stay in the Netherlands,” says a Flemish director of education in Transfer. After all, it is they who have the best chances of success in the draw for places. “I think the performance of those who come here, is alarming.” In veterinary science, for example, only 8.3 per cent of the Dutch students pass first year. For the population as a whole, it is 35 per cent. Flemish universities fear that the influx will increase because of various spending cuts in the Netherlands. The Belgian Minister of Education is keeping a close eye on things, he says in Transfer. Refusing entry to Dutch students is out of the question. “We are bound by EU legislation and even if we wanted to, we could not refuse students or make a distinction on the basis of nationality.”