University College narrowly misses mark
In June, UCG thought they would have 102 students, but in the end, ‘only’ 86 students started the first-year. ‘Just like at other RUG programmes or University Colleges elsewhere in the country, students drop out because of illness, lack of financing, admission to a programme in their home country, deciding to do a gap year, etc.’, dean Hans van Ees explains.
Over the past few years, UCG has struggled to attract enough students. The faculty needs 100 first-year students, but only managed to reel in 30 in each of the past two years. Interest was so low that the university board was beginning to wonder if they should pull the plug.
Even though they did not meet their goal, that does not mean they are not happy with the number of first-year students, say Van Ees. ‘We’ve started the academic year with complete confidence’, he says.
The UCG does not seem to be suffering any consequences from falling short of their enrolment goal. In fact, the university board is ‘very happy’ with the growth in student numbers and is confident it will continue, RUG spokesperson Gernant Deekens says. ‘But we’re not there yet’, RUG president Sibrand Poppema stated previously in the University Council. ‘So we’ll keep an eye on recruitment next year.’
Plans for UCG to eventually move elsewhere in the city were already postponed. But they will remain on ice until the faculty proves itself in the eyes of the RUG board. The board will also set a new enrolment goal for the faculty. Whether they will set the bar just as high or perhaps even higher is not yet known.
Van Ees expects it will be easier to increase the UCG’s visibility now that there are more first-year students. ‘It will help us realise our long-term goals’, he says.
— Elmer Sterken (@elmersterken) September 8, 2016