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Income and performance of Dutch universities

fact sheet
12 October 2020
Funding Diplomas university

Photo: Arie Kievit/Hollandse Hoogte

How are the income and performance of Dutch universities related? In this factsheet, we compare the income of universities for education with the number of diplomas obtained. We pay extra attention to technical universities and try to see whether the income keeps pace with the number of bachelor's and master's degrees.

In short

  • Revenues are rising, but the number of diplomas is rising more sharply.
  • Technical universities are lagging even more behind than other universities.

Dutch universities receive money for education in various ways, for example via the state contribution and via tuition fees. The two figures below compare the income and the number of diplomas in 2010 with those of subsequent years. The first figure relates to all universities together. The second figure highlights the four technical universities.

Revenues and educational performance increase

In the first figure (all universities together) we see that the total national contribution increases by 16%. The education component increases even more sharply: 25%. And if we also include tuition fees, the increase is almost 32%. The number of master's degrees increases by 26% and the number of bachelor's degrees by 30%.

In conclusion, we can say that the number of Bachelor's and Master's degrees is increasing at approximately the same rate as the education part of the national contribution and the education component plus tuition fees. The total national contribution is lagging behind.

Technical universities are lagging behind in terms of income

In the second figure (the four technical universities of Delft, Eindhoven, Twente and Wageningen) we see stronger developments in many of the parameters. First the income. The national contribution rises to 16%. The education component rises to 37%. The education component plus tuition fees rise to almost 49%. Then the diplomas. Bachelor's degrees rise to 55%. Master's degrees up to 61%.

This leads to the conclusion that the income from the state contribution for the four technical universities lags behind the performance of these universities. The pain felt and reported by the 4TU federation can be understood from these parameters.

Few differences between universities

In the figures above, the individual universities are not included separately. We have done this because there are few major differences between universities. For the sake of completeness, we can mention a few minor differences:

  • The universities of Nijmegen and Utrecht are fairly constant in terms of the number of diplomas (especially for masters) and in the development of the national contribution.
  • The universities of Maastricht, Tilburg, Delft and Eindhoven are growing, especially in the case of master's degrees.
  • The growth in bachelor's degrees is greater in Leiden, Rotterdam and both universities in Amsterdam.
  • Wageningen is the university with the strongest increases in Bachelor's and Master's degrees.

More diplomas due to internationalisation and growing interest

Two developments underlie the sharp increase in the number of diplomas. The first is the internationalisation of universities. The second is the growing interest among Dutch young people.

In the period mentioned, the number of foreign students has doubled to 48,500 in 2017 (71% of them come from the European Economic Area and are therefore eligible for funding). We see this internationalisation in all the countries around us. The Netherlands occupies a middle position in terms of the percentage of foreigners in higher education. We have a little more foreign students than Germany, a little less than Belgium and considerably less than the United Kingdom.

The second development that is causing an increase in the number of diplomas is the growing interest in university education among Dutch young people. There has been a trend since the 1960s for educational careers to become longer and longer and to end up higher and higher. The number of VWO graduates attending university education is likely to continue to rise slightly until the mid-2020s. The effect of this second trend is present in the figures but is relatively small.