TU Delft lowers BSA by six points

First year TU Delft bachelor students’ binding recommendation on the continuation of studies will be relaxed. The standard will be lowered by six points this academic year.

(Photo: Dalia Madi)

This agreement arises from the decision by the Association of Universities in the Netherlands (VSNU) to lower the standard for the binding recommendation on the continuation of studies (BSA) this academic year by 10% to 15%. For first year bachelor students who started studying this academic year, it means that they need to obtain 39 credits instead of 45 to continue their study. Lowering this by six credits equates to one major and applies to all bachelor degree programmes with the exception of Industrial Design. There, the standard is lowered to 37.5 credits as each bachelor subject is worth 7.5 credits.

National call
As the academic progress of the first year students is at the same level as in past years, TU Delft had previously announced that it would rather not amend the BSA. Nevertheless, it has now acceded to the students.

Job Vlak, Chair of the Student Council, is happy and praises the position that TU Delft has taken. “The extended lockdown has only made the situation worse and I know that the Executive Board understands that it’s becoming more difficult for students. In taking this step, TU Delft shows the resilience that it preached during the Dies Natalis celebration. By compromising, it is helping others.”

That the BSA was lowered this academic year is also partly due to the national call to university boards that Vlak initiated. He saw that students were under pressure because of the corona crisis and wanted to again get the discussion about the BSA on the agenda. He was supported in this by the Interstedelijk Studenten Overleg (ISO, Intercity Student Consultation) and almost all the student councils in the Netherlands. “Why did it work out this time? Because we calmly invited university boards to join us in finding solutions. That constructive position was our strength.”

Study delays
While the overriding emotion is satisfaction, there are also concerns. Vlak says that “Students who were granted a delay in their BSA must make up these points this year.” This means that anyone who earned between 22.5 and 30 credits in the last academic year, has to obtain their first-year diploma this year. “This puts extra pressure on this group and they run greater risk of study delays. These students are more likely to mess up their second year subjects because they will be concentrating on passing their first year subjects.”

The students that will be affected will soon receive a personal letter. “The letter will give more information and will urge the student to contact their student counsellor should they experience any difficulties.”

Meeting in the middle
How the situation will develop in the months to come is anyone’s guess. Universities are thus retaining the right to further modify the BSA rules during the academic year, for example if a degree programme is genuinely unable to run practical subjects. However, Vlak does not expect this to happen. “The Student Council is especially happy that we could make a difference and could help students in other cities too. We believe that it is important to keep the vulnerable group of first year students on the radar. Whether the six point lowering will help, we don’t know. We would have liked the lowering of the BSA this corona year to be even bigger, but this is a good compromise and the first step towards helping the first years.”

  • Click here for more information on the renewed bsa regulation or contact the study advisors of your faculty.
News editor Marjolein van der Veldt

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