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  • Dutch HE penalty impacts study choice

    - A survey among Dutch university students indicates that 8% of all undergraduate students decided against pursuing another degree due to the recently introduced HE penalty. Data also indicates that students study much less than expected, yet 40% experience stress symptoms.

    Student magazines of 10 Dutch universities and 4 universities of applied sciences (UAS) surveyed 5200 students on their workload, anxieties and the impact of the upcoming langstudeerboete. The latter is a substantial financial penalty for students that exceed the regular study time by more than 1 year, e.g. taking longer than 4 years for finishing a 3 year Bachelor degree.

    Students study too little, yet suffer from stress symptoms

    The results show that university students have an overall heavier workload than UAS students. 40.2% of UAS students study 20 hours or less each week compared to 26.5% of university students. Meanwhile, 27.5% of UAS students study 31 hours or more per week, while this holds for 40.1% of university students.

    Even though the majority of students study less than what is expected from a full time education, over 40% of them indicate that they feel serious stress on a regular basis, accompanied by a number of psychological issues. 45% of this group experience test anxiety, 51% insomnia, and 60% worries ('piekeren').

    Especially, women (45%) and international students (51%) suffer from regular stress from a heavy study workload. This is much less so for students who continue living with their parents (33%). Past research from Germany already showed that stay home students in fact lead a healthier lifestyle.

    8% decided against additional degree due to langstudeerboete

    The research by the university magazines also had a closer look at the impact of the financial penalty (langstudeeerboete) on study choice. 20% of the students surveyed indicated that their study plans changed because of this new policy. This includes the choice of doing another Bachelor degree, going abroad or choosing a certain program.

    8% of all Bachelor students indicated that they decided against an additional degree due to the financial penalty. Of the 20% that changed their plans, 45% doubt whether they will pursue another degree, 20% already decided against it. Among international students, knowledge about the langstudeerboete has not yet spread: 15% do not know this new regulation as opposed to 2.7% of Dutch students.

    This research was also published in the Erasmus University Magazine, the analysis was provided by Resource from Wageningen UR.