Tilburg University response to BSA bill
Last week, Minister of Education Robbert Dijkgraaf announced his plans to modify the binding study advice (BSA). As of the academic year 2025-2026, students need only secure 30 out of 60 credits in their first year to be allowed to continue their studies. This effectively eases the BSA, and universities believe this move to be both undesirable and unwise.
The BSA ensures that students have a sufficiently solid basis to continue to make progress in their studies, and Tilburg University applies a relatively lenient BSA norm of 42 credits: students need only pass seven out of ten courses in their first year to qualify for continuing in their studies.
Vice Rector Magnificus Jantine Schuit: “We deplore the Minister’s plan to modify the BSA. The current BSA ensures that students have a sufficiently solid basis to continue to make progress in their studies. Under the new arrangement, many students will still drop out, but only in their second or even third year. If the BSA norm is eased, students will start their second year having only passed half of their first-year courses, at our university five out of ten courses. As a result, they effectively suffer a six-month delay. We believe this flies in the face of student well-being and stress relief. A student being given a negative BSA at the end of their second year will find it harder to deal with having to discontinue their studies and will struggle with greater financial anxiety. And as a governor of this university, I also have a responsibility to our staff. The Minister’s plans will cause more underprepared students to start in their second year and that will have an impact on staff: their workload will increase because of the additional supervision required. A larger group of underprepared students in the second year of their studies could also adversely impact the quality of education. Not only do these students often lack the knowledge and skills to pass second-year courses, their fellow students who did complete their first year may also suffer the consequences: they all work together on assignments and in seminars.”
Read more about this topic here:
- Universities of The Netherlands press release: Universiteiten over kabinetsvoorstel bindend studieadvies: slecht plan (Universities dismiss government BSA proposal)
- NRC article: Minister Dijkgraaf helpt studenten niet door de lat heel laag te leggen (Minister Dijkgraaf does not do students any favors by lowering the bar)
- Telegraaf article: Minister Dijkgraaf legt de lat niet lager (Minister Dijkgraaf does not lower the bar)
- NRC Twistgesprek (debate): Loslaten van het bindend studieadvies: een goed idee? ‘Versoepelen kan de kwaliteit van het onderwijs doen dalen’ (Letting go of the BSA: a good idea? ‘Easing the norm may harm the quality of education’)