University Council concerned about consequences of new cabinet’s internationalisation plans

University Council concerned about consequences of new cabinet’s internationalisation plans

Budget for 2024 looking good

13-12-2023 · News

MAASTRICHT. Maastricht University’s housekeeping book for next year is again looking good, showed the 2024 budget. That won’t be any different in the years following. Yet, concern was expressed in the University Council.

A positive result of 3 million in 2023, was the prognosis. In 2024, UM expects to more or less break even and in 2025 the university will be 1 million in the plus.

The financial long-term perspective looks solid, Vice President Nick Bos concluded, during the University Council committee meeting last week. The budget shows that the university will continue to grow: the past few years, a number of bachelor’s and master’s programmes have been added – including Computer Science, Circular Engineering, and Regenerative Medicine and Technology – and next year, another one will start: the interfaculty bachelor’s programme of Brain Science. Partly because of this, the student influx will increase from 22 thousand in 2022 to 28 thousand in 2028. The number of employees will also increase, not just because of the new study programmes, but also because of the sector plans - a structural investment of 200 million each year by the cabinet, intended for extra jobs and more tenured appointments at universities – as well as the starters’ and stimulation grants.

Concerns

Still, there are concerns in the University Council. These are mainly prompted by the election results and the cabinet that has to be formed. The winners – PVV, NSC and BBB – are parties that want to restrict the internationalisation of universities and reduce the influx of foreign students. A possible coalition partner – VVD – is critical about these subjects too. The main question by the University Council members: has UM taken into consideration, in the budget, a scenario in which the Dutch language will be given a more important role in bachelor’s programmes and the influx of foreign students will automatically drop?  

Scenarios

The answer during the committee meeting was: No, the budget has not been adapted because so much is still uncertain. Not just about the new policies, but also what consequences those policies will have for UM, said Bos. “That doesn’t mean that we are not thinking about possible scenarios, but we will not express them, as we don’t want to make politicians any wiser,” he adds. He did say that the university views the possible internationalisation plans as one of the largest threats for the near future. It is not without reason that they are lobbying in The Hague. That is where UM, helped by partners from the region, emphasise how important the university is for Limburg. As the largest employer, driver of the economy, for example through the Brightlands campuses in various Limburg cities. “If you stop investing now, you will lose the commitment of your partners. We now receive a lot of support because of our impact on the region.”

The Hague’s course

Should The Hague’s course turn out to be unfavourable, there is plenty of time to make adjustments, Bos said to the committee. “The financial consequences of new policies will only become noticeable a few years later.”

Author: Riki Janssen

Photo: Joey Roberts

Categories: News, news_top
Tags: university council,budget,internationalisation,the hague

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