University overhaul: Minister to lower bar for first years

Dutch Education Minister Robbert Dijkgraaf this week announced his intention to overhaul the binding study advice (BSA) system for universities in the interests of better student mental health and well-being. Under the new rules, which come into effect in the 2025-26 academic year, students would have to achieve 30 out of 60 credits to pass the first year instead of the current threshold of 45 credits, writes Victoria Séveno for IAmExpat.

The BSA is a system that allows higher education institutions to set a minimum credit requirement for first-year students and is designed to prevent students from dropping out of their courses at a later stage. Currently, the executive boards of universities are able to set their own requirements – if they set any at all – with many asking first years to achieve a minimum of 45 of the total 60 credits. If students fail to do so, they’re forced to drop out of their course.

Dijkgraaf’s plans have been met with mixed reactions. According to NOS, the National Student Union (LSVb) thinks the new requirements are a “good move”, while the Intercity Student Consultation (ISO) said they would allow for “a better balance … between the well-being of students and their study progress.” Meanwhile, the universities themselves aren’t overly keen.
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