Cookie policy: This site uses cookies to simplify and improve your usage and experience of this website. Cookies are small text files stored on the device you are using to access this website. For more information on how we use and manage cookies please take a look at our privacy and cookie policies. Your privacy is important to us and our policy is to neither share nor sell your personal information to any external organisation or party; nor to use behavioural analysis for advertising to you.

Sweden may end free education for non-EU learners

Non-European Union students studying in Sweden will face fees of 80,000 kronor (£6,000) a year if recommendations from a parliamentary committee are accepted.

The committee - which includes key educationists, politicians and student representatives selected by parliament as well as MPs - has been asked to assess the viability of tuition fees.

But the Swedish National Union of Students is outraged that parliament is considering allowing universities to introduce tuition fees for non-EU students.

"This could lead to fees for Swedish students," union president Niclas Sigholm said.

Tobias Smedberg, a former union president who was a student representative on the committee, said: "Education is no longer seen as for the good of society in general but something that benefits the individual. As a result, people are beginning to consider whether university education should be funded by the taxpayer."

Although the committee proposed that 120 million kronor be made available in scholarships for non-EU students to encourage them to study in Sweden, the union said that fees were the wrong way to go.

"We believe in the traditional Nordic model of free education for all, funded by the state," Mr Sigholm said.

According to Mr Sigholm, there is a strong case against student fees. "The administrative costs alone would be considerable. Universities would also have to increase the amount of marketing directed at foreign students, and student accommodation (particularly hard to find in Sweden's cities), would also need to be guaranteed for foreign students."

The union said that the proposed figure would make Sweden one of the most expensive places to study in Europe. "We've spoken to foreign students from Pakistan and India already here, and they told us they could never afford such fees," Mr Sigholm said.

The Government said that universities would make greater provision for foreign students if they were allowed to charge fees.

Readers' comments (8)

  • i think swedish government should not pass this bill for they know that in third world countries like pakistan india and bangladesh etc, students have no opportunity to get standard higher education by dint of poverty, starvation and lack of standard universities and colleges. swedish government should forget nationality, creed cast etc; and allow non eu students to get free education in sweden

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • I am from pakistan and I am admitted to KTH.The issue is that people from India,Paistan,China and West Africa want to learn science and Technology but dont have much resources.They find a country on the map called Sweden where education is free and the Swedes dont like to study science.So,they fill in the places.Impose the fees,there will be empty science classrooms .

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • I am from Cameroon. I think the issue of introducing tuition fees in Sweden for non EU student is not a favourable idea at all especially for West African propective students. Because of poverty, Lack of Jobs and poor system of education, they rely very much on countries where education is highly subsidies by the government.Therefore introducing tuition fees for non EU student will be a big blow on us.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Will students who are currently enrolled be grandfathered and continue to receive free education?

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • I think non-EU students are invading funds from Swedish taxpayer. Swedish government should charge very high tuition fees, say at least 20000 Euros per year, for non-EU students and allows each university to make profit sfrom these students. In addition, non-EU students pay no contribution to Swedish economy. So they must be driven away from Sweden.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Such an atempt to pass that bill simply imply the lack of assistance on the sweedish government to help in developing countries that are still lagging behind. Rather it should be of the form that those who study up to post graduate level should serve the country free for one year.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Hello,

    I agree with the new policy that the Government of Sweden would make a lot by charging the non EU students for the tution fee. But with that, at least 80-90% of the foreigners would not be able to afford education and would be reluctant to study in Sweden. This would certainly lead to a decrease in the coming of foreign reserves (personal expenses born by the students apart from the tution fees). It is evident that the foreign students are not allowed to work as a part time in Sweden during their studies. So, it would be better for the non EU students to take admissions in such countries that would allow them to work as well just like Australia.

    In short, passing of this bill will make almost 99% of the third world countries to reject their plans to study in Sweden. So, I think it's completely a bad idea!!!

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • I'm a British academic working within the Swedish system.

    An important issue not covered in the original article is that one of principal reasons for the education subsidies has been to ensure that the smaller regional universities could fill their places. Many of these institutions are dangerously reliant on foreign students (far more so than in the UK) and would probably have to close if the income from those students dried up.

    Since the regional universities play a non-insignificant role in the various local economies the main issue is one of regional subsidies rather than the principle of free education. This is certainly how the politicians see it, whatever they may say in public.

    Coupled to this is the wish to free up resources and focus them on the major universities to increase their competitiveness.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Print
  • Share
  • Save
  • Print
  • Share
  • Save
Jobs