This policy brief on Resilient Urban Economy & Municipal Finance highlights the important role institutions of higher education can play in dampening the impacts of population decline. It does so based on a study of Maastricht, a medium-sized city in the south of the Netherlands, bordering Belgium and close to Germany. It draws on policy analysis, secondary quantitative data and stakeholder workshops to unravel necessary conditions for higher-education growth in the city. Among other things, it shows the importance of physical infrastructure, accommodating policies and urban attractiveness. Crucially, the Maastricht case demonstrates that the function of higher-education institutions in a city is not a given, but a product of state policies. This suggests redistributive state policies can play a role in dampening population decline or mitigate negative impacts.