News - August 21, 2013

First-year numbers up by 20 per cent

Linda van der Nat

Possibly due to uncertainty about basic grant.
Molecular Life Sciences shows biggest increase.

New Master’s students are shown the ropes in Forum.

Wageningen UR is still growing. The number of students who have registered for a degree in Wageningen is 20 per cent more than last year. This can be seen from the university’s provisional enrolment figures. This gives Wageningen the biggest growth rate of all the Dutch universities.

The Molecular Life Sciences degree programme, up by 87 per cent, has done particularly well. Programme director Wilko van Loon: ‘We really put a lot of effort into PR this year, including a new website with students’ experiences and photos of students in lab coats. Photos of lab coats used to be a big no-no but I think you should give a realistic picture of your course.’
Other degrees that are doing well are International Land and Water Management (+63 per cent) and Management, Economics and Consumer Studies (+55 per cent). Biology, traditionally a crowd puller, is showing a slight loss. Even so, it is still one of the top three most popular Wageningen studies: around 125 new students have registered for this Bachelor’s degree. The undisputed number one is Nutrition and Health, with 160 enrolments. There are plans to introduce a restriction on the number of places for this degree, which has been a ‘top degree’ in the Guide to Higher Education for years.
A total of 1392 students have now registered for a degree in Wageningen. This time last year, there were 1157. Other Dutch universities also have more new students than last year. One possible reason for the increase    is the uncertainty about the abolition of the student grant. Many school leavers decided in spring to cancel their plans for a gap year travelling or working as they thought the basic grant would be turned into a loan in 2014. This measure had now been postponed a year but a lot of school leavers had already registered for a degree course.