This year, Wageningen University will award five full scholarships worth 60,000 euros to African master’s students. It is the first time the university reimburses the full costs of studying to these students, which it does to limit the decrease in numbers of African students.
The international classroom. ©Sven Menschel
The aim of this arrangement is to keep WUR’s international classroom diverse, says dean of education Arnold Bregt. The number of international master’s students in Wageningen might be increasing, but the number of students from African countries has declined in the past years to only fifty per year. The primary reason is that Nuffic is making fewer scholarships available to students from developing countries. A few years ago, there were still around 100 scholarships from Nuffic to follow a study programme in Wageningen; this year, a mere 39 were available. The students most dependent on the Nuffic scholarships are the ones from African countries, which rarely have their own scholarship programmes.
The university had already helped students from developing countries in the past years, says policy staff member Eric de Munck. WUR offered dozens of students a tuition fee waiver. This saves students 18,000 euros per year for a two-year master’s programme. However, most African students who were offered this waiver did not come to Wageningen, as they were not able to manage financing for the living costs.
Anne van den Ban
The Anne van den Ban Fund provides around ten scholarships per year to students from developing countries to provide for living costs in Wageningen. By combining the tuition fee waiver and this scholarship, students were able to study in Wageningen with barely any costs. With the new arrangement, another five students will be added to this pool.
The arrangement will start from September 2018. The university has already selected the first five excellent African students. This programme is still in the pilot phase, but it is expected to remain active for the following years.