1 Update: International degree students in the Netherlands
3 Total numbers In the academic year, a total of 74,894 internationally mobile students enrolled in an accredited degree programme in public higher education in the Netherlands. 1 This represented an increase compared to the previous year of exactly 4,235 students the greatest absolute growth in the total number of international degree students studying in the Netherlands recorded since the academic year. It is remarkable that this growth came exclusively from research universities, where the number of international students increased from over 37,600 to just under 42,000. The number of international students at universities of applied sciences declined marginally, to under 33,000. In relative terms, international students now account for 10.7%, or more than one in ten, of all tertiary level students in the Netherlands. This share is generally much larger at the research universities (16.2%) and in master s programmes (20.6%) than at the universities of applied sciences (7.4%) and in bachelor s programmes (8.8%). New enrolments As regards new enrolments of international degree students in a particular programme, the positive upward trend was even more pronounced. The number of new enrolments in Dutch public higher education increased by 2,680 to 32,130 international students, accounting for 13.8% of all new enrolments. This represents the largest increase in the number of new international enrolments, ever recorded in the Netherlands. The previous record dated from the academic year (+ 2,589 new international enrolments), and was therefore exceeded by almost 100 students. New enrolments of international degree students in higher education in the Netherlands since The research universities master s programmes stand out both in terms of absolute and relative growth: in the academic year, 12,425 newly enrolled international master s students accounted for over one in four (26.4%) of all new enrolments in these programmes. This represented an increase of almost 2,000 new enrolments of international master s students, compared to the new enrolments in the previous academic year. By contrast, in bachelor s programmes at research universities, the number of new enrolments of international students rose by slightly less than 750 students to just under 8,700. The number of new international enrolments in master s programmes thus increased 2.5 times more than the absolute number of new international enrolments in bachelor s programmes. 1 International student mobility in higher education is defined as the crossing of a national border with the purpose of study. The criterion for degree mobility is the country were a student earned his or her high school diploma (ISCED 3 / 4), i.e. the country of origin where the student received the qualification that gives him or her access to higher education in the destination country (ISCED 5, 6 and 7). Source: UNESCO, OECD, EUROSTAT. Data for the Netherlands: all international students that were enrolled in an associate, bachelor s or master s degree programme at a university of applied sciences or research university in the Netherlands. Source: DUO 1Cijfer HO. 3
4 4 Countries of origin The total number of German students enrolled at universities of applied sciences in the Netherlands declined for the fourth year in a row, whilst the number of German students at research universities slightly increased. With a total of almost 22,200 students, Germany remains by far the most important country of origin, accounting for about 30% of all international students in the Netherlands (down from almost 40% in the academic year). Please see our special publication on this for further analysis. China and Belgium retained their second and third positions, with more than 4,300 and 2,600 students respectively. The number of Chinese students increased at research universities and decreased at universities of applied sciences, with overall modest growth of just over 100 more Chinese students enrolled in the academic year. The number of Belgian students remained stable at universities of applied sciences, and increased at research universities, with 150 more students enrolled. Italy accounted for the most substantial absolute growth in numbers of international students. With an increase of over 600 students and a total of 2,600 students, Italy was the fourth most important country of origin, accounting for a greater share than the United Kingdom. Compared to Italy, only a few more students came from Belgium, the third most important country. The United Kingdom continued to show stable growth (+ 300), and is now the fifth most important country, with over 2,300 students enrolled in the Netherlands. The number of students from Greece, which was the fifth most important country, remained stable at almost 2,200 for the second academic year in a row. The number of students from Bulgaria, Spain, France and Romania, the seventh, eighth, ninth and tenth most important countries, respectively, all increased by between 200 and 300, now totalling between 2,000 and about 1,600. The numbers of students from Poland, Lithuania, and the Neso countries India, Indonesia and Russia, the 13th, 14th, 11th, 12th and 15th most important countries, respectively, were between 700 and 1,300 in the academic year. Top 15 countries of origin of international degree students in higher education in the Netherlands: Overall, the record growth in the number of new enrolments in the academic year did not lead to a fundamental change in the geographical distribution in regions of origin of international degree students. Since the academic year, 75% of all international students who study in the Netherlands have come from within the EU/EEA region. 2 However within the EU/EEA, Eastern and Southern European countries have become relatively more important. The increasingly even distribution across countries of origin adds to the diversity in international classrooms. 2 EU/EEA students are entitled to the same low tuition fees as Dutch nationals, are exempt from visa-regulations, and may live and work in the Netherlands after graduation (or another EU/EEA country).
5 Fields of study At the universities of applied sciences the field of study with the largest relative share of international students was Arts and Culture. With almost 5,000 students, this discipline accounts for 30.5% of the total. The most popular programmes in this field for internationals students are the Fine arts: Music, Visual arts, Dance, Theatre and Architecture. Historically, the majority of the international students in this field have come from Germany, but their numbers have been declining (from just under 1,200 to just over 700 in the and academic years, respectively). Over the last few years, French, Italian and Spanish students in this field have been increasing substantially, which more than compensates for the declining number of German students. In terms of absolute numbers, there are even more international students in the fields of Economics & Business (over 15,300) and Engineering (over 5,200) at universities of applied sciences. In the former field International Business and Management Studies (IBMS) is the most popular among international students, and in the latter, Information Technology (IT) is the most popular. However, the relative share of international students in these fields is much lower than in Arts and Culture, with Economy & Business and Engineering accounting for 9.8 and 6.2%, respectively. All other fields of study at universities of applied sciences have even fewer students and account for smaller shares. At research universities Economics & Business is the most important field of study for international students, at least in terms of absolute numbers (10,600 students in the academic year). Economics & Business is also very internationalised in terms of its share: 26.8%, or over one in four students come from abroad. However, one field had an even larger share of international students: 40.5% of Liberal arts and sciences students, or over two in five, came from abroad. Programmes in this field are mainly taught at university colleges in the form of a broad and intensive bachelor s programme. The relative share of about 40% international students in Liberal arts and sciences has remained constant since the academic year. Due to the exponential growth of the field itself, which saw a fivefold increase in student numbers in 10 years time, the numbers of international students have also increased rapidly: from about 600 to nearly 2,900 in the and academic years, respectively. International degree students in higher education in the Netherlands, by field of study (CROHO): Last but not least, Engineering programmes at research universities showed the most spectacular increase: in the academic year, the number of international students in these programmes increased by over 1,100, or 20%, bringing the total number of international students to 6,600. The overwhelming majority of these students were enrolled in a master s programme at one of the technical universities in Delft, Eindhoven or Twente. In this field, the most students came from China, India, Germany, Greece, Belgium, Italy, Indonesia and Spain. Over half of this increase in engineering students was due to substantial growth (+ 600) in numbers of students from countries with a Neso office. 5
6 6 Institutions New enrolments at Maastricht University in the academic year strengthened its lead over all other Dutch institutions in terms of international students. Over 8,500 international students currently study there, accounting for 54% of the student body. In the academic year, 75% of international students at Maastricht University came from either Germany or Belgium. Germans and Belgians still account for significant portions (46.3% and 11.3%, respectively), though the university now also welcomes substantial numbers of students (between 100 and 400 each) from the United Kingdom, Italy, France, Poland, China, Bulgaria, Greece, Spain and Finland. The technical research universities in Delft and Twente, and Wageningen University (Life sciences) are three specialised institutions that conduct advanced research in their respective fields. They attract a great many talented international graduate students, both at the master s and PhD level. The total number of international master s students at the universities in Delft, Wageningen and Twente combined has more than trippled since the academic year, from just over 2,000 to more than 6,000 students today. At all three institutions, which had the 4th, 5th and 7th (Wageningen, Delft and Twente, respectively) highest shares of incoming degree students, the overall share of international students was over 20%. Furthermore, institutes specialising in hospitality (Hotelschool the Hague 2nd highest number of incoming degree students, Stenden 5th) or Fine arts (ArtEZ 3rd, Amsterdam School of the Arts 9th), are known to have very international student populations. This is even truer for very small institutes in Fine arts, such as the Gerrit Rietveld Academy, Design Academy Eindhoven and Codarts School for the Arts. Finally, the University of Groningen and the Erasmus University stand out as institutions that have seen a remarkable growth in international student enrolments over the last 10 years. In the academic year, less than 5% of their students came from abroad (just over 1,000 each). By the academic year, this number had quadrupled to over 4,000 each. Now, international students at University of Groningen and Erasmus University account for 16.4% (10th) and 19.7% (8th), respectively of their student populations. Countries with a Neso office This academic year, exactly 9,749 nationals from the eleven countries with a Netherlands Education Support Office (Nuffic Neso) enrolled as international degree students in government-funded Dutch higher education. This represents an increase of 3,700 students, or over 60%, since the academic year. The current academic year has shown record growth for countries with a Neso office. The number of international students in the Netherlands from one of these eleven countries has never been larger, and compared to the previous academic year, it is the largest ever growth in both absolute (1,256) and relative (14.8%) terms. Over half of that growth came from students in a field of study whose graduates are in high demand in the Netherlands: Engineering at research universities. International students in general, and students from countries with a Neso office in particular, are thus making a large and increasing contribution to realising the goals of the Dutch STEM pact (techniekpact). The greatest increase from a single country with a Neso office was from India: with a growth of 400, this is the second largest increase in the number of students from a single country of origin after Italy (see section Countries of origin ). Of countries with a Neso office, the second largest number of students, which totalled 1,300, came from India, with the largest group coming from China (over 100 more students, with a total of 4,300 enrolled students). Students from Indonesia also increased dramatically, by almost 200, reaching a total of 1,200, as did students from Russia and South Korea (both with over 100 more students, with a total of over 700 and over 400, respectively). The numbers from other countries with Neso offices grew, albeit by smaller margins. Vietnam, Turkey, Mexico, Brazil, Thailand and South Africa showed growth in the double digits. https://www.epnuffic.nl/en/internationalisation/neso-activities More data and analyses on incoming degree mobility at: - Incoming degree mobility.