But… just think of the revenue!
The Groninger Student Union (GSb) believes that the University is growing too fast and has started a protest campaign. “Three years ago, the university had fewer than 30,000 students, now we are already approaching 40,000 students,” says chairman Marinus Jongman. “It is impossible to grow like this year after year. That’s why we say, full is full.”
With students living in tents due to a housing shortage, large numbers of staff members being overworked, and there being so many Psychology students that not everyone can fit in the largest RUG lecture room, perhaps the GSb has a point.
According to the GSb, the University of Groningen already has 25 percent more pre-registrations this year compared to the record growth in the past year. The Association of Dutch Universities (VSNU) expects that there will be a national growth in the number of first-year students of about five percent, therefore making the RUG’s huge admissions numbers even more noteworthy. As reported by the GIC.
The GSb has now spread stickers around the academy building and the university administration building to indicate their dissatisfaction with this growth and to address its problems.
Student housing has been a difficult issue for years, and will be made worse by huge numbers of new students. Jongman: “Since 2018, the housing market has been inundated every year by students who cannot get a room and emergency accommodation is arranged annually for international students without a room.”
The current expectation of growth is five percent per year until 2026, which, according to the GSb, would cause major problems. “That nullifies all the hard work of the past few years to solve the room shortage,” says Jongman.
Tuition fees needed due to national shortfall in university funding (thanks, Mark!)
In March 2021, it was announced that universities across the Netherlands will be about 1.1 billion euros short of the amount needed to meet all obligations and expectations. In addition, the budget of universities per student has shrunk by 25 percent over the past 20 years.
“Due to the enormous financial pressure this has created, the university simply cannot cope with the current growth. Teachers are overworked and on the verge of falling over. More and more lectures are given by lecturers without research time or by student assistants because anything else is too expensive. Some studies will soon receive three times as many first-years. The quality of education will be seriously compromised if we continue to grow in this way, ”says Jongman.