Corona: Fewer students from outside the EU, break with trend of growth

This year the inflow of international students is higher than last year. This is due to the large increase in the number of students from European countries. Interestingly, the number of students from outside the EU has decreased. The latter is a break with the trend - the number of non-EU students has been growing for years.
Posted by Nuffic
Internationale studenten in Den Haag

Despite the corona crisis, the numbers of international students at Dutch universities are not decreasing. This is mainly due to a higher intake of EEA students (all EU students, plus Liechtenstein, Norway and Iceland). They are compensating a decline in non-EU students. This is reported by the university association VSNU

The inflow of EEA students has increased by 10% to 12% this academic year. The inflow of students from outside the EEA is decreasing. The extent of this decline will be more apparent at the beginning of 2021. 

In May and July Nuffic researched the study plans of potential international students. Even then it appeared that, despite the corona crisis, the interest in studying in the Netherlands was undiminished. However, international students, especially from outside Europe, indicated that uncertainties such as travel restrictions and obtaining a study visa in time could possibly throw a spanner in the works. You can read the news article here. 

Earlier it appeared that, compared to previous years, universities and universities of applied sciences applied less often for a study visa for fewer non-EEA students. Without such a visa, international students do not have access to Dutch higher education.

Other European countries, such as Sweden and the United Kingdom, indicate that the inflow of international students into their country is increasing. 

Ontwikkeling internationale studenten op NL universiteiten

In recent years, the number of foreign students at Dutch universities has risen sharply. In 2019, more than 62,000 international students studied in the Netherlands, most of them from EEA countries. The growth of international students from the EU shows that the Netherlands is still a popular study destination. EEA students also have less to do with travel or visa restrictions as a result of the corona crisis.  

On the other hand, the group of students from outside the EEA has had to deal with travel restrictions and uncertainties due to the corona crisis. Even before the start of the academic year, they indicated that they considered travel restrictions and visa procedures as important uncertainties when studying in the Netherlands. 

The national figures for universities of applied sciences are not yet known. International students make up a smaller proportion of the total at universities of applied sciences than at universities. Would you like more information? Take a look at our facts and figures.