Revised: Associate-degree programme attracts mainly mbo graduates

This is a revised version of the article published on 8 January 2013. The revised version includes the correct figures regarding the number of associate-degree students.

Many first-year students in higher professional education (hbo) in the Netherlands in 2012/’11 who opted for the shorter two-year programme are graduates from senior secondary vocational education (mbo). They are older than first-year students in the regular four-year hbo programme, relatively more of them are men, and more of them choose the part-time curriculum.

Two-year hbo programmes increasingly popular

The option of a two-year hbo programme, which leads to an associate degree, was introduced in study year 2006/’07. These programmes were set up to give mbo graduates and people with a job more opportunities to get an hbo degree, and subsequently continue their education. In 2011/’12 nearly four thousand students were enrolled in these two-year courses. Five years after the introduction, the inflow, over 1,500 first-year students, has grown to account for just over 1.5 percent of the total number of first-year hbo students.

Most students in two-year programme mbo graduates

Sixty-three percent of students enrolling for the two-year hbo programmes have graduated from mbo. This is just over twice the percentage among first-year students in the regular four-year bachelor programme, where most students come from senior general secondary education (havo) or pre-university education (vwo).

First-year hbo students by previous education, 2011/’12*

First-year hbo students by previous education, 2011/’12*

More men and older students in two-year programme

Slightly more men than women choose the two-year associate-degree programme. In 2011/’12, 54 percent of first-year students were men. In the regular bachelor programme this was 48 percent. More than one third of first-year students in the associate-degree programme are 30 years or older, and only 10 percent are younger than 20. In the regular four-year programme over half of new students are younger than 20 years of age.

First-year hbo students by age, 2011/’12*

First-year hbo students by age, 2011/’12*

Students in two-year programme more likely to study part-time

First year students in the two-year programme were more likely than those in the four-year programme to choose the part-time and dual curricula. This corresponds with the target group for the associate degree: among others this option is intended for people who are already active on the labour market.

First-year hbo students by programme, 2011/’12*

First-year hbo students by programme, 2011/’12*

Sabine Gans