International students uncertain about studying in the Netherlands

Despite the corona crisis, the interest of foreign students to study in the Netherlands is still high. But it is uncertain if they will register for a programme in Dutch higher education.

This is the outcome of our survey among 941 potential students from outside the EU. Students cite a more limited financial situation and travel restrictions as their main uncertainties.

This academic year, more than 25,000 international students from outside the EU are studying at a Dutch research university or university of applied sciences. This number is expected to decrease due to the corona crisis. In order to gain a better understanding of the considerations of potential international students in this uncertain period of time, Nuffic has surveyed the experiences of this group in 10 non-EU countries via the Netherlands education support offices (Neso).

The survey showed that 80% of the potential students is still interested in studying in the Netherlands. At the same time, it is uncertain whether students will convert this wish into an application and will be able to actually come to the Netherlands. Approximately a quarter of all respondents think they will have to abandon their plans to come and study in the Netherlands. 40% does not intend to defer from applying, 36% is still in doubt.

Financial situation and travel restrictions biggest uncertainties

The prospective students indicate that they still faced many uncertainties. Financial uncertainty is one of the top mentioned. There are fewer scholarship opportunities, there is uncertainty about income of students and parents, and due to lower exchange rates, the value of savings has in some cases decreased. Furthermore, travel restrictions and obtaining a study residence permit create uncertainty for prospective students.

Few students indicate that online education is preferred for the upcoming academic year - only one in ten prospect students indicate that this is now preferred over other options. Rather, potential students wait until the moment when they can resume physical education on a Dutch campus. A study in their home country is rarely considered an alternative.

All findings of the survey can be read in the report 'How is COVID-19 affecting international students' plans to study in the Netherlands'.

Would you like more information about the situation in a specific country? Please contact one of our Neso offices.

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