‘International students are vital’

TU/e Eindhoven
Photo credit: Studio040

The intake of international students at the Eindhoven University (TU/e) ​​is absolutely necessary to provide the companies in the Brainport region with sufficient employees. Limiting the influx of internationals is therefore out of the question, says the university. 

Various municipal council parties – from left to right – stated that TU/e ​​could make more effort to accommodate the many international students in the region. “Colleges of applied sciences and universities first lure students to come here, but only then do they come to the conclusion that there is no housing,” Jannie Visscher of the Socialist Party (SP) noted. “The university has an interest in bringing so many students here. That’s good, but then you also have to take your responsibility,” added the People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD) councilor, Tom Meylink.

Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA) council member Niels Groot also says that TU/e ​​should do something about the housing shortage for students. “If you recruit students, you also have to provide housing. It is of course a good earning model, foreign students pay a lot of tuition fees. Educational institutions have to build, talk to housing associations, or you have to scale back recruitment. Housing construction is difficult in these times, you can’t just build a residential tower in a year, but as a university you also have to show that sense of reality.”

No Money for housing

At TU/e ​​they can only agree moderately with the comments from politicians. “To begin with, universities in the Netherlands are not allowed to spend money on housing,” says a spokesperson when asked. “Universities should spend their money on their core tasks – education, research and application of the knowledge we produce”.

“Accommodation is not the task of educational institutions, but we do take responsibility. The start of the construction of the new residential tower is an example of this”.


Limiting the intake of international students is not an option. According to the university, it would have major consequences for the region if ‘the tap were to be turned off a bit’. “Eighty per cent of the graduate engineers who work in the Brainport region come from TU/e. A large number of these graduates come from outside the Netherlands, so it is important that those people remain welcome.”

“About a quarter of our students come from outside the Netherlands. To be precise, we have 9715 Dutch students and 3161 international students. Moreover, 54 per cent of those international students continue to work in the Netherlands. Nationally, an average of 25 per cent continue to work in the Netherlands”.


Finally, there are no legal instruments to refuse these students on the basis of origin. From the perspective within the EU and the free movement of people, that is not easily feasible either. We can limit the intake of a programme with an intake restriction, but that applies to everyone who chooses a new study, including Dutch people”.


The problems with housing will therefore continue to play a role for a while, and TU/e ​​has announced that it will keep an eye on the aforementioned reality – the difficulties surrounding housing construction.

“We have the ambition to make a growth spurt, especially to meet the growing need for well-trained employees in the region. But a condition for this is adequate housing. We are still calculating how much living space is needed for this, but in any case it concerns thousands of homes. If that doesn’t happen, the growth spurt won’t happen either,” says the spokesperson.

Source: Studio040

Translated by: Seetha





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