‘Corona most obvious explanation’
Nearly twice as many first-years quit
The UG has no clear explanation, but thinks the corona pandemic has something to do with it. ‘That’s the most obvious explanation’, says spokesperson Riepko Buikema.
‘We’ve heard the stories from students who are struggling. First-year students who’ve never had an on-campus class and barely see their classmates are having a hard time, too.’
The February 1 cut-off date is especially important for students who have a travel product or an additional grant from DUO. Anyone who unenrolls before this date will not have to pay back their additional grant or the costs for a public transport card.
This means that students who realise that they chose the wrong programme or who know they will not earn the required number of ECTS for a positive binding study advice (BSA) can switch programmes without far-reaching financial consequences. Anyone who is borrowing money from DUO will still have to pay it back.
Even though the BSA requirement was lowered by ten ECTS this year, the number of students quitting has nearly doubled. During the 2018/2019 academic year, 470 first-years quit before February 1, a little more than the 380 students who quit a year later.
Buikema says there are various explanations for why 741 students quit this year. ‘Students can explain their choice to quit, but they’re not required to do so. Approximately four hundred students did.’
He says that approximately seventy-five students explicitly said the pandemic or online education was their reason for quitting. ‘Others had different explanations: they didn’t like the programme, quit due to personal circumstances, realised they made the wrong choice, or quit because of familial obligations.’