FEB scraps numerus fixus

The rules for numerus fixus and selective admissions are set to change so dramatically from the 2017-2018 academic year onwards that the Faculty of Economics and Business (FEB) has decided to abolish any and all admission requirements.

According to Kees Praagman, educational director at FEB, the new rules are so complicated that selective admission will become ‘nigh impossible’. He says that the rules are becoming inflexible. ‘If we continue like this, there’s a chance that FEB may lose half its students, if not more.’

Deadline and DUO

There are two critical aspects of the law that are changing, says Karin de Roo, department head of educational administration and student support at FEB: the enrolment deadline will be moved forward and DUO will no longer be involved in the enrolments. According to De Roo, these aspects will make selective admissions a lot less flexible.

The enrolment deadline for new students who have to go through the selection process will be moved to January. Previously, faculties were more or less able to set their own deadlines. FEB’s deadline was in April. Moreover, the change will make the universities responsible for the placement of students : currently, that is DUO’s task.

International students

The International Business bachelor in particular has a large influx of international students. ‘If we adhere to the selection, we’ll price ourselves out of the market when it comes to international intake’, says educational director Praagman. He thinks the new period between the enrolment deadline and definitive admission is much too long.

By removing DUO from the process, FEB fears they will miss out on even more international students. Karin de Roo: ‘DUO functions as a traffic controller.’ For example, FEB had made a deal with DUO that they would admit more students than the fixus number. ‘For a myriad of reasons, a large portion of international students drop out before the academic year has even started. They either can’t figure out their finances or they aren’t able to get a visa, and they often enrol in multiple programmes.’

These spots could be filled to reach the maximum number after all, because more students than the fixus number had already been admitted. De Roo says that eliminating DUO’s role means that will be impossible from 2017 onwards. ‘If we keep using the numerus fixus, there will initially only be room for a number of students equal to the fixus number.’ The rest of the students will be placed on the waiting list and will have to wait and see if someone drops out. ‘They’re not required to cancel their enrolment and, as such, it’s our experience that students don’t always do that. Most of the time we won’t know who isn’t showing up until right before or on 1 September. By then, it’s too late to accept anyone else’, according to the department head.

‘Two evils’

Educational director Praagman foresees few problems as a result of ending the procedure at two of the four bachelor programmes. In the Business and Econometrics programmes, the number of enrolments is typically roughly equal to the fixus number. That means that selection is no longer necessary. The fixus on Economics and Business Economics had already been abolished.

International Business, however, is a completely different story. ‘We are forced to choose the lesser of two evils’, according to Praagman. The amount of enrolments every year greatly exceeds the fixus number. ‘We run the risk of being overrun by students if we abolish numerus fixus. But if we continue the selection, there’s a great chance we won’t have enough students.’

European Languages and Cultures

In spite of the new, inflexible, rules, the Faculty of Arts is considering selective admissions, as well as a numerus fixus for the bachelor programme European Languages and Cultures. The amount of students for that programme is definitely on the rise. Praagman: ‘I hope they realise what they’re getting themselves into.’

Arts dean Gerry Wakker says she is aware of the new selection rules. ‘We haven’t made a definitive decision on whether or not to introduce it. We first want to find out if the new system is workable.’