Corona crisis contributes to record number of students at universities | NOW



A record number of 328,000 bachelor and master students are registered for the 2020/2021 academic year, according to preliminary figures from the Association of Universities (VSNU) on Thursday. That is an increase of 8 percent compared to last year. According to the association, this increase is partly due to the corona crisis.

Due to the corona measures for secondary education, “considerably” more final exam candidates have passed this year, the VSNU sees. Especially the number of VWO students who have registered has risen sharply: by 15 percent. The industry association suspects that this is also because fewer final exam candidates are taking a gap year due to the corona crisis.

In addition, due to the coronavirus, universities set less strict requirements for the number of credits that must be obtained in the first academic year. As a result, the outflow of students has also decreased: normally about 7 percent of students dropped out in the first year due to the binding study advice (BSA), now it is 5.4 percent.

On the other hand, as a result of the corona virus, fewer students graduated, which meant that they also had to register for the new academic year.

According to VSNU chairman Pieter Duisenberg, the consequences of postponing the binding study advice should become clear in the coming year. “It is quite possible that next year the dropout rate will increase because students will still get stuck in their studies. As far as study delay is concerned, the first studies seem to indicate that in general the number of credits obtained is roughly the same as in previous years.”

Number of international students increased despite travel restrictions

It is striking that the number of registrations of international students has increased this academic year, despite the travel restrictions.

This increase is mainly attributable to students from EU countries and Liechtenstein, Norway and Iceland: the number of enrollments of students from these countries has increased by 10 to 12 percent. Fewer students from outside these countries have registered.

The figures that the VSNU released on Thursday are provisional figures; the final registration figures will be announced at the beginning of 2021.

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