Netherlands may grab higher share of the UK Masters Market
Whilst there has been much debate in the media about the increased threat to UK university undergraduate recruitment from the Netherlands, new research by education marketing consultancy The Knowledge Partnership (TKP) confirms that the most serious competition may be for full-time Masters students.
The study of over 1,500 UK undergraduates actively considering postgraduate study found that 39% would seriously consider enrolling in the Netherlands.
Commenting on the results, David Roberts head of TKP’s Education Marketing Practice said:
“These results show that the UK cannot be complacent when it comes to holding onto its share of the domestic market for PGT students. Having recently attended a London recruitment fair where international providers were promoting their programmes, it is clear that the Netherlands, along with Canada and Scandinavian universities, see the hike in UK fees as signalling a major opportunity for them to recruit a share of what has previously been a closed market. The fair was crowded and much of the activity centred on Masters level provision.
The appeal of the Netherlands is obvious – tuition in English, the opportunity to differentiate your CV and demonstrate to employers an international enterprising character, the world class nature of the system, a number of world ranked providers and the ease of travel (it costs less to fly from my home airport in Leeds to Amsterdam than travel to London by train – and in half the time). And then there is the fee differential for UK students as EU citizens – around £1,500 a year compared with £5000-£8,000 here.”
According to Roberts the UK is fortunate that such an attractive competitor, whilst so convenient, is also short of capacity:
“The Netherlands may have a world class system to offer but it only has a small number of providers; they are more focussed on quality than quantity at this stage. The likely takers are the bright, open minded students from the squeezed middle classes – families that see the value of postgraduate education but are hesitant about their students racking up ever more debt. As a sector we ought to be grateful we are not a near neighbour of the USA, or looking forward, some of the English speaking Asian hubs. The volume threat is more likely to come from the private sector and the international distance learning providers that are focussing on the lucrative business and professional programmes that are so vital to many teaching led universities.”