HomeNews & eventsCorporate announcementsEnrolment figures at UT show a decline, especially in international students

Enrolment figures at UT show a decline, especially in international students

3,264 students started a bachelor's or master's programme at the University of Twente this year. That is 6.8 per cent less than the previous year. Lower international intake, in particular, is causing a decline. These figures emerge from the national provisional enrolment figures, published today. They provide insight into the developments in enrolments in the funded programmes at Dutch universities and universities of applied sciences, and show that the growth in the number of international students is also stagnating nationally.


UT's bachelor's programmes welcomed 2,040 new students this year, compared to 2,213 last year. That is a decrease of 8 per cent. The decrease is mainly due to the lower intake of international students, which decreased by 17 per cent. A reduction was already anticipated, as the number of students participating in Twente Pathway College's foundation year was significantly lower than in the previous year.

The number of Dutch students remained almost the same. More than half of these Dutch students are from the eastern Netherlands. To UT's satisfaction, the proportion of students from the western Netherlands increased by five percentage points. In its recruitment activities, UT is committed to increasing its awareness among students in that part of the country.

The bachelor's programme Creative Technology (+46 students) saw the most significant increase, followed by the Mechanical Engineering programme offered together with the VU (+44) and Technical Medicine (+10). The Technical Computer Science programme introduced a numerus fixus and saw the number of students decrease by 47. The programmes Mechanical Engineering (-33), Business Information Technology (-32), and University College Twente/ATLAS (-31) also saw their student numbers drop.

Compared to other Dutch universities, UT's market share remained practically unchanged. It fell slightly from 3.1 per cent to 3.0 per cent.


1,224 students started a master's programme at UT this academic year, 67 fewer than a year earlier. That is 5 per cent less. The number of Dutch students decreased by 71, while the number of international students increased slightly. Explanations for the decline in the number of Dutch students are mainly due to fewer students who opted for a follow-up master's degree at UT after a UT bachelor's degree (-54) and a lower intake of students from Dutch universities of applied science (-24).

European Studies (+31), Biomechanical Engineering (+11) and Mechanical Engineering and Chemical Science & Engineering (both +10) saw the most substantial increases in student numbers. Business Administration (-37), Geo-information Science and Earth Observation (-24), Electrical Engineering and Applied Mathematics (both -14) saw their student numbers decrease the most.

Compared to other Dutch universities, the number of students at UT decreased slightly, its market share dropping from 2.2 to 2.0 per cent.

Internationalisation debate

The intake of international students, in particular, is under a magnifying glass due to the current internationalisation debate. The government is preparing a bill that may affect the English-language (bachelor's) programmes supply at Dutch universities. Agreements are also expected between the minister and higher education institutions that should manage international intake and contribute to a higher chance of international students staying after their studies, for instance, by putting more effort into learning the Dutch language.

In the current academic year, 40.8 per cent of new bachelor's students came from abroad; in the master's, the proportion is 39.6 per cent. It seems that the internationalisation debate has had a limited impact on the intake in the current academic year. Still, it may have a more significant impact in upcoming years.

The University of Twente advocates maintaining international intake because it sees a high demand in the labour market for technically skilled staff. That demand will continue to grow in the coming years, while the number of Dutch students graduating from VWO who choose a beta technical profile (nature and technology or nature and health) is under pressure. More on the internationalisation debate can be found at www.utwente.nl/internationalisation-debate.

Learn more about the national developments on the website of Universiteiten van Nederland.

L.P.W. van der Velde MSc (Laurens)
Spokesperson Executive Board (EB)