New scholarships to combat dramatic fee

How does a university ensure that they attract the best minds in the world despite becoming more and more expensive? Offering top-tier students scholarships is a good place to start.

In the past ten years, the tuition fee for international students (non-EEA) enrolling for master’s courses at TU Delft has almost doubled. In 2016, the university announced a further 10.6% fee hike, taking the amount from €13,560 to €15,000. Added to that, the university estimated the annual cost of living in Delft to now be around €10,000 to €12,200 annually. Following the hike, some students floated an online petition against it. The petition, on, received 450 signatures (550 short of its target).

“TU Delft wants to be competitive in the global market, and the sort of facilities and education we want to provide, not just at TU but at the 3TU Federation, is expensive. There has been a dramatic increase in the fees, bringing the fees in line with global trends, but we have also seen a continuous growth in the number of international students over the years,” said Anita Coetzee, Manager Education and Student Affairs at the Faculty of Electrical Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science. Coetzee is part of the committee that is working the proposal for new scholarships.

While the fee hike stands, the university is looking into ways to ensure that students are not daunted by the figures. Now that the university has established its “brand”, the next step is to move from a quantitative model to a more qualitative one. “Our focus is going to be on attracting the best students from around the world. Our aim is to have a talented and diverse student population,” said Coetzee.The best get the best deals.

Taking a cue from American universities, TU Delft plans to create more scholarships to stay competitive. Aimed at attracting “outstanding international students”, three scholarships have been proposed: Excellence Scholarships (full financial contribution), Talent Scholarships (partial financial contribution) and Merit Scholarships (one-off financial incentive).

Other top technical colleges in Europe are also offering similar scholarships. For instance, EPFL (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne) and ETH Zurich (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich) both offer an Excellence Scholarship alongside other merit-based modules. The fee at EPFL is €1,050 euros (for all students) and the cost of living is estimated at €21,503.69. At ETH Zurich, the tuition fee is around €1,061 cost of living between €14,000 and €23,000.

Ties that bond
As per the proposal, TU Delft’s new scholarships will go beyond financial assistance. “We are also looking at personal development sessions, for both international and Dutch top scholars. Maybe some classes on public speaking, on presentation…” she said. The committee also hopes to create a strong alumni network with a lasting bond with TU Delft. “In the past we saw that there was a gap between Dutch and international students. We want to bridge that two-university mindset. Also, we want our scholars to feel a strong bond with the university and, in time, become ambassadors for our university in their home countries,” said Coetzee.

The Executive Board has green-lighted the proposal and the committee will now approach the financial department to crunch the numbers. “We have to talk about funding now, whether we approach private or corporate partners, how to set up a fund. Faculties have to decide how they want to set up their scholarships. In the next couple of months, when students start applying for 2017-2018, we should have a blueprint ready,” said Coetzee.

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