Figures from the Dutch Association of Universities (VSNU) indicate that students are graduating with increasing speed. The number of dropouts has also decreased
According to the VSNU, almost 70 per cent of students finish their bachelor’s degree within four years. That is significantly more than five years ago when a little more than half (56 per cent) finished their bachelor’s degree on time.
‘The measures that the universities have taken to increase the pace of studying appear to have been appropriate and effective’, says RUG president Sibrand Poppema, who is also vice president of the VSNU. The matching strategy and earlier registration date have particularly helped in getting students into the right programmes quicker, he says.
However, a group of experts from the RUG concluded that matching does not work last year. The system is supposed to make it clear to aspiring students whether or not the programme they have chosen suits them before they begin studying, but virtually everyone is given the green light.
Since the implementation of the bachelor-master structure in 2002, various measures have been taken in order to ensure that students do not spend more time than is necessary completing their studies. The financing that institutions receive is dependent on the number of students who graduate from their studies on time, among other things.
According to the VSNU, the principal explanation for the drastic increase in the number of students finishing their studies within the allotted time is the implementation of the ‘bachelor-before-master rule’ between bachelor and master programmes. For a long time, it was possible for students to begin a master’s degree without having finished their bachelor’s degree. Because of this, it often took a lot longer before a student graduated from their bachelor’s degree. Beginning a master’s before finishing a bachelor’s was made impossible by the implementation of the ‘bachelor-before-master rule’, which has been introduced at universities in recent years.
The universities say that the academic university dropout rate has decreased to seven per cent. VSNU attributes this to the increase in orientation activities, for example open days, programme taster sessions and study choice workshops. These ensure that incoming students get a better picture of the environment and requirements of the programme.