Universiteit Leiden

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Developments relating to budget deficit measures

17 April 2024

We previously informed you that, since the beginning of 2024, our faculty has faced a substantial financial deficit following several years of significant growth. The reason for this deficit is the decline in student numbers and the success rate of those students. In 2024, the deficit is being managed using the Faculty Board’s reserve. From 2025 onwards, however, appropriate measures will be required in order to restore the faculty to sound financial health.

The Faculty Board recently explored the various options and weighed up their implications. These options are currently being discussed with the Academic Directors, the Faculty Council, Heads of Department and Heads of Staff Support departments. The Faculty Board has now come up with a proposal to reduce expenditure on the one hand and increase income on the other.

The proposal may be broken down into the following key focus areas:

  • Employing fewer staff and reducing tangible costs: due to student dropouts, it is predicted that we will be able to employ fewer FTE teaching staff. We are aware that this will require structural adjustments. Our preference is to achieve this through natural wastage and by filling vacancies selectively rather than through a reorganisation. As a result, some vacancies will not (or will no longer) be filled. Needless to say, this process will be carried out with the utmost care, with work pressure and staff well-being as significant factors in any decisions. Cutbacks will also be made in tangible costs, for example the costs associated with examination venues, building opening hours and catering services.
  • Using staff services differently: for example, by reducing staff numbers and making processes both more effective and more efficient. This can also be achieved by limiting our ambitions; deciding what we can and cannot continue to do. ‘Double’ work can also be avoided by coordinating services within Leiden University more effectively. Finally, certain staff members can be paid using funding intended to improve the quality of teaching.
  • Using other funding sources: besides the standard university contributions, we are looking into other sources of funding such as incentive grants, expanding the Leiden Law Academy's activities (postgraduate training and events) and the Advanced Master’s programmes. A significant part of the reserves will also be used temporarily, as an alternative source of funding (as is already the case in 2024).
  • Increasing income: the most important long-term goal is to improve student success. Several measures to achieve this will be introduced over the next academic year, 2025-2026. These measures include launching the new curriculum for the bachelor’s degree in Law with the aim of achieving a better success rate.  

Careful preparations are now being made to incorporate the measures into the 2025-2028 budget. The Faculty Board, Academic Directors, the Faculty Council, Heads of Department and the Heads of the Staff Support departments are currently discussing the proposals and ideas. We will update staff on any developments in due course and make every effort to offer an attractive, student-friendly, financially viable curriculum.

If you have any questions or would like more information, please send an email to Gertjan Boshuizen, Director of Operational Management.

Kind regards,

Suzan Stoter, Dean

Jan Crijns, Vice Dean

Gertjan Boshuizen, Director of Operational Management

Hannah Saberi, Assessor

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