Since 2002 virtually all universities have offered excellence programmes for talented and ambitious students. More than 7000 Bachelor's students (5%) and 200 Master's students (2%) participate in these programmes.
The VSNU supports the universities' policy to promote excellence, so that the Netherlands can retain its strong position and innovation is stimulated. The importance of excellence is endorsed by the government, academia and business. And yet the government grant that, until recently, the universities received for excellence, will come to an end in the coming years.
One specific form that the excellence programmes take is the university colleges. Characteristic of these colleges are pre-entry selection, broad educational subjects and intensive small-scale academic communities. 90% of students attain their Bachelor’s degree in three years. They often go on to study for a Master's degree at a prominent international university.