Fewer new international students across the Netherlands, percentage at UM does rise

Fewer new international students across the Netherlands, percentage at UM does rise

Of all first-year students in the bachelor’s phase, 72 per cent is international

07-02-2024 · News

MAASTRICHT. Fewer international students have embarked on a bachelor’s programme in the Netherlands than last year. Maastricht University, however, registered more (again). Of all new students, more than two thirds are now from abroad, show the final registration figures published by university association UNL this week.

First the overall figures of both international and Dutch students at UM. Maastricht University has more first-year students than in 2022 (a 6.7 per cent growth). The Maastricht bachelor’s programmes are especially popular; the influx increased by 10 per cent. For the master’s programmes, this was ‘only’ 3.4 per cent. The increase in the bachelor’s phase was due primarily to the new English bachelor’s programme of Computer Science, for which some three hundred students registered.


A breakdown according to nationality: of all first-year students in the bachelor’s phase, 72 per cent is international. In the master’s phase, this is 57 per cent. According to UNL, UM has 3,782 new students with a foreign nationality this year compared to 3,182 last year. An increase of 19 per cent.
Contrary to the figures published by UNL, UM uses different ‘definitions’, as a result of which the figures deviate (slightly). For example, UNL does not take into consideration students who switch, going from Amsterdam to Maastricht, or who decide to do Law instead of Psychology, a policy official explains. “For UNL, the influx figures only concern students who ‘enter’ university for the first time”. According to the Maastricht calculations therefore, 68 rather than 72 per cent of the new bachelor’s students comes from abroad. In addition, a substantial part – 41 per cent – comes from the (euro)region, within a 100-kilometre radius. That could be Limburg, Belgium or Germany.

The Hague

Political circles in The Hague are not exactly keen on internationalisation. The large political parties that were until recently negotiating about a new cabinet want fewer foreign students and more Dutch courses in study programmes. There is also a proposed bill by minister Dijkgraaf – ‘Internationalisering in Balans,’ (Balanced Internationalisation) – containing a number of measures in the fields of language and influx. The Education Council gave its vision of the proposed bill last week; as far as the Council is concerned, the minister will have to put some more thought into the content. This proposal creates too much uncertainty, says chairperson Edith Hooge. There is actually only one thing in the proposed bill that has the Education Council’s approval: the entry restriction for English-language (or other language) courses. This could improve accessibility of education for Dutch-speaking students, the council reckons.

De Volkskrant reported that the Council finds it questionable that the minister should resort to a set of generic measures that apply to higher education as a whole. Education institutes that dearly need those non-Dutch students, may suffer from this, says the newspaper.
Chairperson Hooge: “Universities and universities of applied sciences differ from one another, and there are also great differences between border regions and large cities.” UM President Rianne Letschert has been persistent about the ‘international DNA’ of UM, the unique location of Maastricht on the border and the university as economic driving force for the region.

Author: Wendy Degens

Photo: Pixabay

Categories: News, news_top
Tags: education council, internationalisation, dijkgraaf, international students, english, dutch, language, influx

Add Response

Click here for our privacy statement.

Since January 2022, Observant only publishes comments of people whose name is known to the editors.