The attractiveness of programmes in higher education: an empirical approach

Ferdi Widiputera*, Kristof de Witte, Wim Groot, Henriette Maassen van den Brink

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Higher education institutions have experienced an increase in
student enrolment over the past decades. At the same time,
universities increasingly attempt to attract students by offering a
variety of study programmes. Using a Dutch panel data set of
1300 programmes in 50 institutions, this study investigates what
explains the attractiveness of study programmes. We hypothesize
that the distance of study programmes plays a major role in
student decisions to attend. Based on an instrumental variables
identification strategy, we demonstrate that the closest distance
between similar programmes offered and competition between
programmes have significant effects on the enrolment of students
in higher education. The results indicate that a one-kilometer
increase in the closest distance between similar programmes
decreases the number of students to enrol in a programme by –
seven students after controlling for programme type and other
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)153-172
JournalEuropean Journal of Higher Education
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2017

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