UG reverts to lottery system for numerus clausus to promote equal opportunities

The UG is reverting to a lottery system as the standard for studies with a numerus clausus in order to promote equal opportunities.

If a programme wants to apply selection methods, it must provide justification to the university board. ‘The aim is to enhance diversity’, explained education strategist Rob van Ouwerkerk during a university council committee meeting. ‘Lotteries are a better fit for stimulating equality than selection processes.’

Only six years ago, lotteries were abolished at universities. Studies with a numerus clausus selected prospective students by considering factors such as grades, motivation letters, or test results.

Poor predictor

However, this approach is not effective. Many selection methods, such as writing motivation letters, prove to be poor predictors of a student’s academic success.

Moreover, they contribute to inequality of opportunities: first-generation students, students from lower-income families, or those from non-Western backgrounds are more likely to miss out, because these students may have fewer academic support resources at home, or their parents may be unable to afford tutoring.

Equal opportunity

A legislative change will mean lotteries will resume in September. The UG has decided on ‘unweighted’ lotteries, meaning each student has an equal chance.

Should a programme choose to apply selection, it may only use trial study tests that align with the curriculum, a method that has proven effective in predicting academic success, as observed in psychology for some time.

Motivation letters

Programmes can still request motivation letters or physical interviews, but only as prerequisites during registration. Following registration, it reverts to a lottery system.

Since the applications for numerus clausus programmes for next year have already been submitted, the new regulations will apply from the 2025/2026 academic year.

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