VUB first-time students improve on last year’s exam results

VUB first-time students improve on last year’s exam results

Covid’s impact on education fades

Friday 14 July 2023 – According to a pass rate analysis for the current academic year, VUB “generation students” – students registered in higher education in Flanders for the first time – passed 54.4% of their exams in the first session. The figure for the previous year was 51.7%. According to the university, this progress is an encouraging sign that academic teaching is slowly recovering after the challenges brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Initially, study efficiency (the number of courses students pass compared to the total number of courses) among generation students in the first session was relatively stable, at 63.4% in 2017-2018 and 62.3% in 2018-2019 and 2019-2020. In the following two years, the pandemic had a negative impact on pass rates, which fell to 61.2% in 2020-2021 and 51.7% in 2021-2022. The last academic year marked a turning point, however, with the number of students passing in the first session rising by 3 percentage points.

“Generation students can once again take classes, integrate in social and academic life at their university and enjoy a connected student life in normal circumstances, things they were lacking during the pandemic,” says Nadine Engels, vice-rector for Education and Student Affairs. “While we’re not yet at the level we were five years ago, I’m convinced we are catching up. With our strong teaching policy, we will do everything in our power to maximise every student’s chances of success.”

After the second session, the number of generation students passing is expected to be higher.

Story image

Bachelor and master’s students

The pass rates of undergraduate and graduate students also show a positive trend. Among bachelor students, the total pass rate for the first session was 62.2%, while for master’s students the rate was 83.3%. Both groups show a slight improvement compared to the previous academic year, when the rate was 61.9% for bachelor and 82.5% for master’s students. Although they are yet to reach the success rate of five years ago – 70.4% and 86.5% respectively – the university believes this positive trend will also continue for this group of students, thanks to high-quality teaching.

Nathalie Vlaemynck
Nathalie Vlaemynck TIJDELIJK AFWEZIG - Woordvoerder en algemeen perscontact
About Press - Vrije Universiteit Brussel

Vrije Universiteit Brussel is an internationally oriented university in Brussels, the heart of Europe. By providing excellent research and education on a human scale, VUB wants to make an active and committed contribution to a better society.

The World Needs You

The Vrije Universiteit Brussel assumes its scientific and social responsibility with love and decisiveness. That’s why VUB launched the platform De Wereld Heeft Je Nodig – The World Needs You, which brings together ideas, actions and projects based on six Ps. The first P stands for People, because that’s what it’s all about: giving people equal opportunities, prosperity, welfare, respect. Peace is about fighting injustice, big and small, in the world. Prosperity combats poverty and inequality. Planet stands for actions on biodiversity, climate, air quality, animal rights... With Partnership, VUB is looking for joint actions to make the world a better place. The sixth and last P is for Poincaré, the French philosopher Henri Poincaré, from whom VUB derives its motto that thinking should submit to nothing except the facts themselves. VUB is an ‘urban engaged university’, strongly anchored in Brussels and Europe and working according to the principles of free research.


Press - Vrije Universiteit Brussel
Pleinlaan 2
1050 Brussel