Uni hopes to deter students
If you want to study in Groningen, you have to be there
The current number of pre-enrolments at the UG exceed last year’s by 25 percent. The university will not be able to handle that many students, rector magnificus Cisca Wijmenga said last Thursday during a university council committee meeting. ‘We’re heading for disaster.’
The UG will be putting an end to distance learning next year. Students who study in Groningen have to actually be here. It’s one of the ways the board of directors hopes to limit the increase in the number of students.
Back against the wall
The university can’t do much to limit the number of enrolments. They have to admit every single student who registers, unless a programme has a cap on the number of students allowed in. But the effect of a numerus clausus usually takes at least eighteen months before it’s noticeable. ‘We have our backs against the wall’, said Wijmenga.
The university has decided to switch to blended learning. This means big lectures will only be available online, while the more in-depth seminars will take place on campus. Information sessions will make it clear to prospective students that there will be no alternatives available for the on-campus classes. ‘We hope that will deter some of them’, said Wijmenga.
However, this rule will not be legally enforceable. Some faculties offer classes where attendance isn’t mandatory, says Lorenzo Squintani with the university council’s Science Faction. Without making changes to the testing and exam regulations, attendance cannot be enforced.
Ivi Kussmaul, with student party DAG, fears the change will lead to another instance of housing shortage. But that’s exactly why, rector Wijmenga said, students should be told that they should make sure they have a place to live before they come to Groningen.
Brexit and corona
It’s not clear whether the actual number of students coming to Groningen will match the prediction. Many students who had initially decided to attend a British university are now diverting to Groningen because of Brexit. How many students will actually attend university will always be a guess.
It’s also unclear how many students might go for a gap year instead, should the corona restrictions be relaxed and people be allowed to travel again.