This information was shared with HOP by the Universities of the Netherlands university association. The Master’s degree programmes in various economic disciplines have been hit especially hard and have witnessed a 20 percent drop in registrations compared to the same time last year.
One possible explanation is that several universities have pushed back the application deadline for international students. ‘Many Master’s degree programmes have now made it possible to register until the end of July’, says spokesperson for the Universities of the Netherlands, Ruben Puylaert. ‘This deadline used to be at the beginning of June.’
Another cause could be the shortage of student accommodation. Various universities have advised international students not to come to the Netherlands if they are not able to find suitable housing. But they issued the same advice in previous years.
No reason to worry
According to Mr Puylaert, the universities see no reason to worry yet. After all, registrations do not necessarily reflect the actual number of enrolments, especially where international students are concerned.
‘Last year, the registration number peaked at 61,000 international students’, says Mr Puylaert. ‘But in the end, only 18,000 started their Master’s programmes. That difference is huge.’
However, he has also observed a slightly lower number of registrations from Dutch students. The reason for this is unclear.
Some actual enrolment numbers (instead of merely registrations) are already known. Those numbers reflect students who have completed the entire study programme enrolment procedure. The enrolment numbers are more in line with the numbers of previous years, says Puylaert.
‘The simple truth is that there can be a large discrepancy’, he says. ‘Sometimes there are fewer registrations, but more enrolments compared to the previous year, or the other way around. Or someone cleans up the data and the numbers suddenly plummet.’
Last year saw a total of 57,000 new Master’s degree students at Dutch universities and this number includes 18,000 international students.