Jun 5, 2018 at 12:00am ET By Alyssa Walker

While international enrollments at Dutch technical schools are up, some universities in the Netherlands are opting to limit the growth of their international populations. 

Last month, Dutch Review reported that 13 Dutch universities banded together and decided to reduce the number of international students they accept.

Why? Funding.

In the Netherlands, student numbers dictate university funding. As the student population is rising, however, the amount of money the universities receive has remained the same. The result? Less money per student.

By limiting international student numbers, Dutch universities can increase their overall spending per student.

But concerns about international students at Dutch universities goes beyond funding issues. A growing number of international students are seeking places at Dutch because of the quantity and variety of English courses at Dutch universities. According to the NRC, international students numbers have risen at these universities since 2013 for precisely this reason. They increased in population from 31,000 to 48,000 in the last five years. English-language programs at Dutch universities are also seeing increased enrollments as the UK approaches its exit from the European Union.

As well as putting limits on the number of international enrollments, some Dutch higher education officials want to raise tuition fees for international students and are considering whether to reduce English-language offerings at universities and schools in the Netherlands.  While the university officials recognize that the benefits of internationalization, there is concern that Dutch students are at a disadvantage and that the Dutch language could decline if English becomes the lingua franca in Dutch higher education.

Still, the Netherlands is looking for ways to support both Dutch and international student enrollments, while developing Dutch higher education.  In a paper published Monday, Education Minister Ingrid van Engelshoven's argued that courses and degrees in English are beneficial when they lead to inclusion and improve the standard of education for both international and Dutch students. Van Engelshoven stressed that she supports "an open Dutch society in which we dare to look across boundaries, but [is] not closing [her] eyes to the consequences of internationalisation."

Learn more about studying in the Netherlands. 

Alyssa Walker is a freelance writer, educator, and nonprofit consultant. She lives in the White Mountains of New Hampshire with her family.

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