The number of foreign students starting at Wageningen University has grown by 13 percent. The growth is mainly due to recruitment efforts in Germany and an increase in the number of bursaries.
The increase in the number of German students taking a Bachelor's degree is particularly noticeable. This is the result of a campaign to increase awareness of Wageningen in Germany. There were 8 German students in 2007, 34 students in 2008 and now 62 students. 'We started with activities providing information in Germany two years ago', explains Delia de Vreeze, responsible for European student recruitment. De Vreeze: 'There is a lot of interest among German students.' Last year they mainly chose International Development Studies but now other programmes are popular too. International Land and Water Management is also much in demand.
A second explanation for the growth in new foreign students is the increase in the number of bursaries awarded. Wageningen University has a good reputation internationally, says Jeroen Ouburg, a team
leader at the International Office. 'The Netherlands has a better price/quality ratio than many other countries. But even so the amounts involved are substantial, especially for people from developing countries. The only way they can afford it is through family and friends or through external funding such as bursaries.'
This year, Wageningen University awarded Netherlands Fellowship Programme (NFP) bursaries to 176 Master's students, compared with 96 last year. The NFP bursaries are awarded to students from selected developing countries. These students are already working for NGOs or government bodies in their own country. 'The idea behind the NFP is that you encourage the build-up of knowledge in developing countries', explains Ouburg.
This year a total of 220 foreign students are studying at Wageningen University on a bursary, compared with 150 last year. Incidentally, this does not guarantee anything for the future. 'Bursaries always depend on the amount of money available, the number of applicants and the selection process. So the result can vary from year to year', says Ouburg.