Recruitment on hold

New students Picture courtesy Studio040

Fontys University of Applied Sciences has stopped all activities to recruit international students. In doing so, the educational institution is responding to Minister Robbert Dijkgraaf’s call just before Christmas.

Earlier, the TU/e announced that it would do the same. With his appeal to universities and colleges, Minister Dijkgraaf was responding to a wish of the Lower House. The influx of foreign students in the Netherlands brings many good things, but the negative effects are currently too great, according to him. Especially when it comes to the workload for teachers and the pressure on the housing market.

Affordability and quality

The sustainability, affordability and quality of the Dutch higher education system are also under pressure, according to the minister, with more and more foreign students enrolling in the Netherlands in recent years. In 2021, that number increased by almost ten percent to 115,000 students. With this, international first-year students at universities and colleges already make up 40 percent of the total.

This is a provisional stop: at the end of February, the minister will decide how to proceed in the future. He puts the responsibility for discontinuing recruitment entirely on the boards of higher education institutions. Under strict conditions, those boards may ask for an exception when it comes to programmes for sectors in which there are major shortages. This applies especially to healthcare, education and STEM.


Fontys has many programmes in these three areas. No other institution provides as many teachers for primary and secondary education as Fontys, and there are the health courses in Eindhoven and Tilburg. And of course Fontys – together with the TU/e – is also ‘purveyor’ to the companies in the Brainport Region, the economic engine of the Netherlands. It is therefore obvious that the Executive Board will ask the minister for ‘dispensation’ for these three sectors, possibly together with the TU/e and  perhaps Brainport.


Translated by: Anitha Sevugan

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