Dutch universities are supported by state funding (with the exception of University Nyenrode) so that universities do not have to rely on private funding to facilitate tuition. All citizens of the Netherlands who complete high school at the pre-academic level (vwo) or have a professional bachelor's degree at hbo level are eligible to attend university. Special programs exist to make it possible for college students to enter a university as well. Three universities (Leiden, Utrecht and Groningen) have restrictive requirements based on academic ability; and all universities have restrictive requirements for some of their programs because the number of prospective students sometimes outnumbers the number of available places.
Many Dutch students attend universities relatively far from their parental homes (in contrast to Universities in Italy and Spain for example), although scarcity of accommodation sometimes forces students to commute. As a compensation for this, Dutch students normally receive a card (OV-kaart) that allows them to use public transport for free during one part of the week and with a discount during the other part. Waiting lists for student accommodation in the Netherlands can be more than a year, particularly in Utrecht and Amsterdam.
Quality differences between Dutch universities are generally small and the best university in one subject can be the worst in another. This is one of the reasons why none of them tend to end in the top tier of international university ranking systems. All of them, however, score well above average.
Dutch universities used to offer only 4 or 5 year courses. Since 2002 most of them now offer 3 year undergraduate programmes, leading towards a bachelor's degree, and 1 or 2 years Master's programmes. Old habits remain, partly due to the fact that stopping after a BSc is seen as 'dropping out', and a large majority of university students enroll on master's courses. To confuse matters, students attending polytechnics (colleges of higher professional education) also obtain a bachelor's degree, only the programmes in these institutes usually take 4 years. Within the Netherlands these degrees are however not seen as a university education.
- List of universities in the Netherlands
- Education in the Netherlands
- Academic degrees
- Search for officially recognised programmes in the Netherlands
- Accreditation Organisation of the Netherlands and Flanders/Belgium (NVAO)
- The Netherlands Association of Universities of Applied Sciences
- Studiekeuze123.nl, an overview and comparison of all Dutch-taught studies of the universities in the Netherlands
- Eurogates, a searching database of English-taught programmes and grants for study in Holland
- Directory and Ranking of the Netherlands
- "Ranking of universities witihin EU". Retrieved 9 November 2012.