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The long-term agreement

National context

The aim of the long-term agreement is to keep a larger number of students within the higher education system and to provide these students with the kind of education that will bring out the best in them.

What does the long-term agreement consist of?

In brief, the long-term agreement aims to:

  • strengthen the referring and binding function of the first year of the Bachelor’s programme;
  • reduce drop-out rates in the second and third years of the Bachelor’s programme from 15% in 2007 to 6% in 2011;
  • ensure that more students complete the Bachelor’s programme within four years: at least 70% of students from the 2010 cohort re-registering for the degree programme after the first academic year must have obtained their Bachelor’s degree within four years;
  • ensure that, by 2014, 10% of all students extend their studies beyond the standard programme, for example, by taking part in an Honours programme.

The Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science is allocating additional funds in support of this effort to increase study success rates. Initially, the funds are granted on a conditional basis. In 2011, the Ministry assessed whether the universities achieved the relevant objectives. A decision was then made as to whether these additional funds would be allocated on a structural basis.

In comparison with previous agreements, the April 2008 long-term agreement between the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science and the VSNU focuses more intensively on the aspects of orientation, transfers, study success rates and excellence.