Nuffic publishes new figures for international students

An analysis of the latest figures shows that in academic year 2018-2019, 11.5% of students enrolled at a Dutch university of applied sciences or research university came from abroad.
cover incoming degree mobility 2018-2019

85,955 foreign students from 170 countries are pursuing an entire study programme in the Netherlands. That’s 11.5% of the total number of students enrolled. Last academic year the figure was 10.5%.

Italy shows strongest growth

More and more students from Italy are coming to the Netherlands to study. For the third year in a row, the largest absolute growth is from Italy. With an increase of 731 students, a total of 4,814 Italian students are enrolled at Dutch universities. As a result, Italy has overtaken China (4,547 students) and is now the largest country of origin after Germany (22,584 students).

More students from outside Europe

More and more students from outside of the European Economic Area are coming to the Netherlands to study. Over a period of two years, their share increased from 24.8% in 2016-2017 to 26.9% in 2018-2019. Dutch universities of applied sciences and research universities do not receive funding from the Dutch government for this group of students. As a result, they pay more tuition fees to study here.

New enrolments

The number of international students on bachelor’s programmes at research universities showed the largest growth. In 2017-2018, 17.8% of the new intake was accounted for by international students. In 2018-2019, this figure was 20.4%.

Share at its highest in master’s programmes

In 2018-2019, for the first time, there were more international students studying on bachelor’s programmes at research universities (30,500) than at universities of applied sciences (27,186). However, the share of international students is at its highest in master’s programmes. 25,669 international master's students are enrolled at research universities, which makes 23.6% of the total student population. 2,145 international students (20.5%) are studying on master’s programmes at universities of applied sciences.

Arts programmes and social sciences

At 34%, the highest share of international students is found on arts programmes at universities of applied sciences. In terms of absolute numbers, with 13,535 International students, Business and Economics programmes at universities of applied sciences are the most international.

At research universities, social sciences programmes attract the most international students.

Other types of mobility

The analysis only looked at students who are pursuing entire study programmes in the Netherlands. International students also come to the Netherlands for shorter periods, such as an exchange through the Erasmus+ mobility programme. Later on this year, Nuffic will also publish an analysis of this type of intake. Statistics on outgoing student mobility will also follow.

View the full report on incoming student mobility 2018-2019

View the interactive dashboards containing detailed statistics on international student mobility

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