The Netherlands are closer to being able to offer full degree programmes overseas. The European country currently offers partial overseas degrees and after a number of years in progress that soon may be extended to a full degree. The changes are part of the Transnational Education Bill which aims to strengthen the position of Dutch higher education globally and develop international joint programmes and courses.
Currently, students must attend at least a quarter of their course in the Netherlands, if the rest of their programme of study is elsewhere. Students of international joint or double degree programmes in the Netherlands must also complete part of their studies in the Netherlands and are able to do the rest at a partner university in another country. Tuition fees are payable to both institutions of study which can more than double the expense.
If the Transnational Education Bill gets through the Dutch senate, the government will vote and a decree will follow later this year, possibly coming into effect in September 2017. If the bill goes through students will be able to study internationally, only paying one set of fees. The Dutch education minister expects the Netherlands to benefit from the increased visibility of Dutch universities, and from the additional recognition of being an international provider. 240 Dutch institutions presently offer degrees overseas but only one has a campus overseas to date – Stenden University of Applied Sciences. The University of Groningen is planning overseas expansion – awaiting government approval for a branch campus in China.
Once the bill is passed Higher Education Institutions (HEI’s) will be able to apply for permission to offer full degrees overseas. Universities must be able to demonstrate added value to their courses to be granted permission and public money will not be used for overseas development. Institutions must prove social and educational value, such as better student and teacher exchange. The need for private investment for universities to develop overseas branch locations may give the opportunity for public/private partnerships.
The Netherlands are not the only country looking to develop their Transnational Education (TNE) opportunities. As policy changes in the US and Europe looks to a post-Brexit future many institutions and parent countries are looking to see how they can attract international talent and provide the opportunity for their own talented students.