‘We began the University College too eagerly’

Mistakes were made from the start with the University College Groningen, admits RUG president Sibrand Poppema. The university began too hastily with the 'College' without first researching whether there was enough interest in it.

‘With the University College Groningen (UCG), we relied too much on the fact that there is such an interest in University Colleges (UC) nationwide and we thought that this interest would apply to all UC’s’, said Poppema in the University Council. ‘We have never before started something which fell so short.’

The UCG has had difficulty attracting enough students. The faculty needs 100 first year students, but only managed to recruit roughly 30 students each year for the last two years. In order to keep the costs under control, the University College now needs to bring in 200 students a year.


In the meantime, the selection procedure has been adjusted, the academic programme has been made more flexible and a new recruitment campaign has been launched to bring in more students. According to UCG dean Hans van Ees, it is ‘crucial’ that the faculty brings in 100 students in the coming year.

‘Everyone was positive about the UCG, yet things still haven’t gone well. We have learnt a lesson from this’, says Poppema. As such, the university will first research which programmes potential students want before they begin a ‘College‘ in Leeuwarden. ‘We are going to take a close look at whether there is a market for a programme. We will begin with Frisian school pupils, but we will also look into it nationally and internationally thereafter.’