Causes: Covid and Brexit
Explosive increase in advance registration
‘It’s worrisome’, rector magnificus Cisca Wijmenga said during the university council committee meeting last Thursday. ‘We wouldn’t really be able to handle this many students.’
In comparison to last year, the number of advance registrations has increased by 25 percentage points. At several faculties, like the Faculty of Science and Engineering and the Faculty of Economics and Business, the number of advance registrations has nearly doubled.
During the committee meeting on education and research, Wijmenga referred to the situation as ‘the British variant’. The increase is partially due to Brexit, which means students who were originally planning to attend a British university are now registering at the UG instead, and the corona pandemic, which has led to students immediately going to university after high school rather than taking a gap year.
‘These numbers change every day of course, and it’s difficult to say what’s going to happen as long as they’re not definitive’, said the rector. Students often register at several universities at once, and it’s impossible to predict which institute they’ll ultimately pick.
In spite of that, the growth is certain, says Rutger Klein-Nagelvoort, director of education at the Office of the University. ‘Even if only half of these students end up enrolling, it’s still too many.’
Other Dutch universities have seen a similar increase in the number of advance registrations. That’s an issue, because if the UG’s share of students remains the same, the university will not receive extra financing. In the meantime, work stress is is increasing exponentially due to a combination of the corona pandemic and the unexpected increase in student numbers from last year.
Wijmenga called the situation ‘truly terrible’. ‘Our minister isn’t making any moves on this. We don’t know what the government will look like next year either, but I’ve got no hopes for the short term. I don’t think we’ll be getting any compensation for this. It’s a wicked problem.’