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Swedish universities prep for tuition fee fallout

Swedish universities prep for tuition fee fallout

Published: 01 Dec 2010 13:56 GMT+01:00
Updated: 01 Dec 2010 13:56 GMT+01:00

Wandering through the falling snow in front of the renowned law faculty at Sweden’s Lund University, Ukrainian maritime law student Anton Kulchytskyy has nothing but praise for Swedish higher education.

“Sweden has always been world famous for its free and high quality education,” he explains.

Kulchytskyy, who left his government post as a legal advisor to come to Sweden, says he was drawn by Sweden’s reputation for quality, but also because it was free.

But starting in the autumn of 2011, international students from all but a couple dozen European countries will face application fees as well as a hefty tuition bill for the privilege of pursuing a degree in Sweden.

The introduction of the fees, announced in February of this year, amount to something of a shake up for Swedish universities, which have had a long tradition of supplying free education to both Swedish nationals as well as those from other countries around the world.

As of December 1st, the first day that international students can submit applications for admission for the autumn 2011 term, students from outside the European Union and the European Economic Area (EU/EEA) must pay a 900 kronor ($125) fee in order to file their application.

But that cost is just a drop in the bucket compared to tuition fees that can top 200,000 kronor per year for non-European students who choose to study in Sweden.

Exact tuition fees vary depending on the university and the nature of the programme. For example, a masters programme in European business law at Lund University will cost non-EU/EEA students 130,000 kronor per year, while an architecture masters programme at the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) in Stockholm will set non-European students back 245,000 kronor a year.

Combined with estimated living costs of 8,000 to 10,000 kronor a month, the tuition fees suddenly make higher education in Sweden a rather costly endeavour, with a two-year programme possibly costing in excess of 700,000 kronor.

“We believe that the number of applications will decrease dramatically, definitely in the first years, when the tuition fees are introduced,” warns Beatrice Hoga, the president of Sweden's National Union of Students (Sveriges Förenade Studentkårer – SFS).

Hoga also fears that the tuition fees will negatively affect the quality of international students from outside the EU/EEA, as the pool of applicants will be limited by financial means.

She is also sceptical about government claims that the tuition fees will help Swedish universities compete more effectively for international students.

“Sweden is a small country where English is not the mother tongue, and we believe that the fact that students can study without fees has been a great factor in the recruitment of international students,” she says.

Nevertheless, the government maintains that introducing fees for students from outside the EU/EEA will increase the Swedish universities' world competitiveness, while at the same time reducing the burden on Swedish tax payers.

“Sweden spends over 500 million kronor every year on education for foreign students. By introducing fees we can redistribute a part of that money and instead spend it on increased quality in the education system,” explains Anna Neuman, a political adviser to education minister Jan Björklund.

Currently, around 10,000 non-EU/EEA students enroll in Swedish universities every year, most of them in the technical, medical and engineering fields.

“We believe that Sweden should compete on the global market for education by offering higher education with excellent quality – not by being free of charge,” Neuman says.

But Neuman’s claims that tuition fees will boost the competitiveness of Swedish universities ring hollow for Allan Malm, dean of the School of Economics and Management at Lund University.

“Fees will be disruptive. Students paying fees want things that we don't deliver to Swedish students and there is no way that we can give something to paying students and not to the others,” he says.

In addition to his concern about a spike in complaints from tuition-paying students who may feel they aren’t getting their money’s worth from Swedish universities, Malm also worries about the impact of the anticipated drop in international student enrollment.

“The number of international students will drop considerably,” he explains.

He added that, even though international students aren’t currently paying tuition, the boost they give to enrrollment figures are vital for ensuring that a number of technical programmes receive adequate funding which is tied to enrollment.

“A lot of the [technical] colleges rely on the international students who don't pay fees and now they won't get students at all. These colleges are heavily dependent on the money from international students,” says Malm

Maureen Hoppers, a project manager with the Swedish Institute, a body charged with promoting a positive image of the country abroad, denies claims that the quality of Swedish universities was low compared to other countries.

However, she admits that enrollment at some of Sweden’s technical schools will likely suffer in the wake of the fees.

“International students usually study engineering, medical or other technical studies. I think the English speaking technical courses will lose the most students and they will need to work harder to keep the same level of recruitment,” she says.

The creation of scholarship programmes is one measure the government hopes will protect against a precipitous drop in enrollment by non-EU/EEA students.

To start with, 30 million kronor will be allocated for students from the 12 countries designated by the Swedish government as qualifying for special programmes to promote their development. The countries include Bangladesh, Bolivia, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mali, Mozambique, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.

From this fund, the government plans to create 80 to 100 scholarships, mainly for masters-level students. Scholarships will not only cover the tuition, but they will also provide students 8,000 kronor per month to spend on living expenses. Additionally, 10,000 kronor will be given as a lump sum to defray travel expenses.

Hoppers said that the scholarships would be given out based solely on merit, but that no country among the 12 countries selected for development would be allowed to claim more than 25 percent of the available scholarships.

The government has also set aside another 30 million kronor for the 2011-12 academic year to provide scholarships for other non-European students from the rest of the world to be allocated by universities by various means.

Starting in 2012, the funding pool will be boosted to 60 million kronor annually, says Carina Hellgren from the International Programme Office for Education and Training (Internationella programkontoret), a branch of the education ministry tasked with administering international exchange and scholarship programmes.

While tuition fees and accompanying government funded scholarships may ease the burden that international students place on Swedish taxpayers, and may even boost the quality of non-European applicants, international students may never view Sweden in the same light as a result of the shift away from free higher education.

“I understand why they are introducing the fees, but it’s really sad,” says David Damian Lares, a Mexican student studying entrepreneurship at Lund University.

“If I didn't enroll this year to study in Sweden, I would never have come at all.”

Related links:

Paul Rapacioli (paul.rapacioli@thelocal.com)

Your comments about this article

15:43 December 1, 2010 by Heebz
Interesting, I am quite lucky to have been accepted two years ago. I think this plan is going to backfire and ultimately have an adverse effect. I am studying Molecular Life Sciences at Stockholm University and there are very few Swedish students in the courses. There have been a couple of courses where they wasn't even one Swedish student in the entire classroom! Some of these courses are going to get shut down eventually because there is no point in teaching just 5-6 people, this is a shame because there is such a high standard and some very good professors.

I agree that the Swedish taxpayers shouldn't fund the education of foreign students, but then again aren't students from Italy just as foreign as students from Mexico to Sweden? I'm not against paying tuition fees, but the asking price I think is through the roof! Combine the amount being proposed for the tuition fee with the cost of living in any major Swedish city, and you have a major problem. They need to find a middle ground, and the people in charge are far from it.

International students may feel that they are better off getting their education in the United States or Canada if they have to pay such a large amount. The way they have this set up, it may cost more to study in Sweden than in the United States.
15:55 December 1, 2010 by Tennin
In most of the world higher education is never free. In the states the higher education isn't free for it's citizens. Also if you are from one state and want to go to a university in a different state you have to pay out-of-state tuition fees. People take out loans to pay for their own college/tuition fees, and get part-time work to help pay for their living expenses.

I think it's really wonderful that in Sweden the citizens and permanent residents are allowed to go to college/university for free. But I do think it's not fair that the taxpayers also have to be burdened with paying for non-citizens/permanent residents fees. Come on give the poor taxpayers a break, it already has one of the world's highest tax rates. They can use the money on reopening some hospitals that they closed to make the wait times less.
16:57 December 1, 2010 by mbl
If the only way Sweden can attract foreign students to its universities is by offering free tuition it appears that the quality must be somewhat questionable. On the other hand the size of the fees should be consistent with the charges made in the rest of the EU. One reason the Universities are upset is that departments get funded from the government depending on the number of registered students. Thus fewer foreign students means reduced funding for the academic institution. Many prestige institutions such as Cal Tech in the US have upper division courses with very few students enrolled. The problem here is that funds provided for a course are dependent on the number of students enrolled. Highly specialized courses should still be given and having foreign students to fill the number gap helps this. I strongly suspect that this is a major reason that schools want to maintain a system in which foreign students get free tuition. I also find the argument that free tuition attracts more qualified students unpersuasive. Grants and scholarships are a far more effective means of doing this. Finally what is really needed is serious funding of Universities and research, not universal free higher education for the world as supplied by one small country!
17:09 December 1, 2010 by asian123
i guess it will be zero.
18:07 December 1, 2010 by MegaSchmegma
The students who do come and pay the fees will be very disappointed when they discover professors that ignore email from students, don't maintain office hours, cancel lectures for "business meetings", schedule vacations in the middle of semesters, and generally have a careless attitude about things. Students will be a lot less willing to accept that kind of thing when the courses aren't free.
18:44 December 1, 2010 by Elias06
a master degree in the US cost an average of 10 000 dollars, i dont know why an international student would pay the double to study in sweden, there should be a reeeeeeeeeally good reason to make such a choice. the goal of the scheme is very clear for me.swedish universities want to kick out all non european students but they cant admit it, how can an indian student pay 300 000 Kr for one year of study when his father doesnt earn that in 10 years of work !!!! I think swedish universities are very aware of that .
22:04 December 1, 2010 by mojofat
@Elias06 What sort of community college are you referring to where a master's degree only costs $10k? The schools I looked at/was accepted to in the U.S. were all around $80,000...minimum...for a two-year program. That's tuition, not even living expenses.

I think it's entirely reasonable for Sweden to make this move, and I am very appreciative of the opportunity to study here tuition free. However, it's entirely reasonable to expect enrollment from non-EU countries to dramatically drop. I know if I were paying 200,000SEK for tuition I would expect housing at a minimum, something that (at this moment) cannot be offered. And I would expect many other things based on my experience as an undergrad in the U.S. (where I did pay). This is something they will have to figure out in the coming years because while Sweden has a couple top-notch schools (top-ranked), there aren't any well-known schools here. Plus the cost of living is high, housing is impossible, swedish is not a useful language unless you plan on living here for a long time, Sweden has a reputation for a country that's hard to find a job in if you're not from here, and it gets damn cold and dark in the winter. I find Sweden endearing and to be a real jewel of Europe, but if I were paying 200,000SEK a year I probably would've stayed in the U.S. or chosen a better known school in the U.K. I think if the officials can acknowledge these challenges they can devise a way to counter them in a way that draws foreign students back. If they turn a blind eye to them we're going to be reading an article in 10 years time about how there's a dearth of international talent in Sweden's schools and high-tech industries.
22:57 December 1, 2010 by Hamad
One of the least plausible justifications put forward by the government is that raising tuition fees will mean students will demand a higher quality of tuition. It doesn't work that way. If you pay up to SEK150k for non EU master students, you don't want a good education, you want a good degree. The two are not identical.

Once you charge the going rate, "selling" lectures, for example, rather than "giving" them, you change the nature of staff-student relationships. The student has become a customer - and, as they say, the customer is always right.The deterrent effect on applicants in the coming years will be bad. Worse still will be the corrosive effects on universities, despite the immediate injection of cash from hiked fee revenue. Educationally, it's a poisoned chalice
23:31 December 1, 2010 by grantike
i guess its time to contact ikea and other möbler företag to make alot of coffin or casket ready for death of international students education .who are are non-EU students ? .same people who even struggle financially talk more of when the tuition is over the top.wow
06:51 December 2, 2010 by warriorwithin
fees for non EU and free for EU. isn't this discrimination? the social democrats are actually worse the sweden democrats
10:45 December 2, 2010 by Johnwedderburn
@warriorwithin I can understand how it's easy to think that the EU/nonEU split is some form of discrimination, but there is a less sinister explanation. Sweden is part of the EU, Swedish students do not pay tuition fees and Sweden therefore cannot charge tuition fees to students from other EU countries.
15:51 December 2, 2010 by gubikim
I can everything, to charge for higher education etc etc. BUT, why on earth the fees are so damn high??? How come they can ask for almost twice as the other European universities? Especially when the claim is to compete with them! There are numbers regarding the cost of the international students to tax payers in the article but nothing regarding their input to the economy after their graduation? How many nonEU enginneers/doctors etc are occupied in Sweden now and whats their contribution to the economy? The balance is not as simple as they want it to look like! "They cost money so they must pay" they say. It is not that simple! Do not fool people!
16:20 December 2, 2010 by ebony_ebonylad@yahoo.co.uk
Well I was a graduate student in Sweden in 2005.I appreciated everything but the Swedes' myopic view of other countries especially Africa.Increasing fees is not too bad but it would have been a gradual process.It is not worth it for me a Cameroonian to travel to far away Kinshasa to apply for Swedish visa in person as required when at the same time students' part time jobs are not guaranteed during studies and even after studies in Sweden.The Nationalists have won their cards as fee paying Africans have been cut off.This fee paying decision can be politically victorious now but would be socially catastrophic even in the short run.

Steve.Cameroon.
16:37 December 2, 2010 by ilockitdown
just going to repeat post #8 by Hamad IT is exactly right, thats a huge problem in north america i find.

One of the least plausible justifications put forward by the government is that raising tuition fees will mean students will demand a higher quality of tuition. It doesn't work that way. If you pay up to SEK150k for non EU master students, you don't want a good education, you want a good degree. The two are not identical.

Once you charge the going rate, "selling" lectures, for example, rather than "giving" them, you change the nature of staff-student relationships. The student has become a customer - and, as they say, the customer is always right.The deterrent effect on applicants in the coming years will be bad. Worse still will be the corrosive effects on universities, despite the immediate injection of cash from hiked fee revenue. Educationally, it's a poisoned chalice
17:29 December 2, 2010 by ccb
Higher education is quite important and valuable all over the world and I do agree with the stance of the Swedish government to discontinue free education to non-EU students to reduce burden on taxpayers. However, one must be realistic, as a student here in Sweden for the past 18 months I can say that I am very disappointed with the quality of the education in the the Master's programme at KTH, having previously studied at Master's level and seeking more to shift my career path with another seems like an expensive mistake given the fact that most classes feel like they are still at the undergraduate level, most lecturers could care less about the students or whether they are learning or understanding at all, and some of the lab assistants and student assistants have not a clue what is going on.

I expected tuition costs between 30 000 and up to 100 000 SEK but over 240 000 SEK is crazy! What gives Sweden the right to charge 2 to 3 times more than other European universities, especially ones that have more prestige than any here. Let's see why this will probably backfire:

Tuition in the UK for non-EU students is between 12 000 and 15 000 pounds, for those who don't know, that is between 135 000 and 160 000 SEK. Why would I come here when UK has so many excellent universities?

The housing situation here is ridiculous, I know of Swedish people who returned to their homes outside of Stockholm because it was too difficult to find a place here. So Imagine the difficulty for a foreign student who does not know the country, language or customs.

Swedish is not a useful language why would I come here when I could learn a more universal language like English, French, Spanish or even German?

It is terribly cold, dark and drab here, with generally unsociable people.

No further comment.
18:25 December 2, 2010 by kenny8076
Ok well to keep it short and sweet...... no one in their right mind is going to pay $28,000 to $30,000 a year on a swedish education....... i dont think these people understand what colleges around the world at these prices offer. At Karlstad they dont even have student lounges..... just a library.

and the biggest difference say from here and the states..... in the states you can atleast get a job during your studies....... so to come here you need to have $28,000 a year cash? or loans? and that would be for everything..... rent, food, liesure, school supplies ect ect....... its so stupid for them to do this. i just finished my first semester here in sweden and it was mediocre at best....... i wouldnt pay $10,000 for what i just did.
20:03 December 2, 2010 by Sandy106
As an American student I was planning on going to Sweden for university and hopefully living and working there after I graduate, but there is no way I can justify spending twice as much as what a Harvard degree and 8 times more than my state's university tuition, to study there. It's a shame, I really love Sweden :(
21:36 December 2, 2010 by adigunbabatunde@yahoo.com
I think the govt or their advisers are not planning well, even the lecturers (the one who taught business concept) could not apply their theories when it comes to situations like this. If i had 400 000 sek in my home country i would not venture out to do any masters degree at any school in the world for that matter (i dont mean the last parts).

1.The tuition are outrageous, even for some schools that rank lowly.

2.how many swedish parents can afford this (how much more students from the target market): atleast one would expect that they use empathetic formula.

3. they are planning of entering a new market without studying it or giving consideration to their target customers.

solution

1.I think it would be a better idea if the education is subsidized for a start and they gradually ease away the subsidy. (The "german" method 500 euro a semester is affordable.)

2.mechanism should be put in place for students to integrate and atleast earn stipend to augment whatever they came with.

3. "Combined with estimated living costs of 8,000 to 10,000 kronor a month, the tuition fees suddenly make higher education in Sweden a rather costly endeavour, with a two-year programme possibly costing in excess of 700,000 kronor." they should remember hardly does anyone (on the average) from the target market accumulate such amount. earnings are low and cost of living are way lower than sweden.

let wait and see!!! from me I say thank you for the education.

.
21:53 December 2, 2010 by adigunbabatunde@yahoo.com
one more thing: if you have ever met a swede one of the first questions they ask is : why Sweden, that did you choose to study in sweden? meaning, even the Swedes dont expect a sane person to come here without incentives... selah
22:55 December 2, 2010 by graywolf
Oh yeah ? One incentive is to enrol and within a month or so, find a future Swedish spouse eventually leading to a family follow-up. How easy is that ? It sure does happen.
23:12 December 2, 2010 by mojofat
@adigunbabatunde You are soooo right! I get that question all the time. I use to laugh...now I just wonder if there's something that everyone knows but me.
23:21 December 2, 2010 by omansour
I was about to go for the UK to continue my master studies until I met a friend who told me about Lund University. He said its among the top 100 in the world its FREE. I didn't believe him, but I did checked the website and it was for free. Accordingly, I applied for Lund, got admitted, finished my master, got an offer for a Ph.D position., and I am now half way to get it. To tell you some reflections from within since I teach international students. I think introducing fees is a very good thing; nothing about the claims that Swedish tax payers should not pay for foreigners education, but about the quality of education. We mostly receive students from Asian countries like Pakistan, Bangladesh, and India. Unfortunately, the majority of these students are not committed to their studies and they lack proper language and understanding. Perhaps due to weak educational grounds or cognitive abilities (no offense but I am providing an academic and intellectual perspective on this). I have an experience with this in three universities. However, there are of course some bright students, very few though! The introduction of fees, in this respect, would definitely filter those students who are attracted by free education in Sweden. Simply because those cannot afford to pay if they can't finish their theses or courses which require them to prolong their studies for longer times and therefore pay more money. The dichotomy here is whether to offer free education with many "uncommitted, low quality students" or to offer tuition-based education based on the assumption that the system will only include bright committed students! I would say that Sweden's big problem in education system is FLEXIBILITY. Instead of introducing fees they can simply tighten admission requirements so only good students can come and university can enjoy better teaching environment and reputation because of their well academic conduct. I think the quality of the Swedish academic will collapse because of this flexibility. I met students who said that "they can't really speak english and they got admitted based on "letters" from their home universities showing that they studied in english while they did not! Also we as teachers struggle with the flexible system when we need to revise the same task again, and again. I would think of tightening the admission rules as one way to improve quality rather than introduction of fees (assuming that this was the good intent of fees). Also, every country has the right to ask for fees, so as every student has the right to choose where he or she wants to study. So I guess for Sweden to experience tuition-based education for non EU students is something with many consequences and perhaps a gradual introduction of fees would be best together with parallel scholarship system that would be reasonable since bright students can bring reputation for the university and the department where they study.
00:34 December 3, 2010 by padu1000
I noticed the article was complaining about the government spending 500 million on foreign students. If foreign students are suppose to pay 10,000 per month for living expenses. And there are over 10,000 of us. Then the 500 million doesn't sound so bad sitting next to the 1.2 billion figure that the lot of us are bringing in. Just a thought.
12:54 December 3, 2010 by ccb
@omansour

You make some excellent points. There is significant weakness in many students that come here to do the international master's programmes especially with regards to language and commitment. I chose Sweden because I believed it would be a good career move, the technology I am studying was actually invented here, so here was a first choice. However, many students come here just because it is free and just chose a programme that seemed like something good to do but not because they really want to do it. Admissions rules do need to be tightened along with the system of grading. I mean come on, you can do the same assignment and same exam over and over until you get it right and if I do it once and I get a B and you do it 4 times and get an E, then a C then a B and then an A your final grade is A. You look good irrespective of how many times you have done it and in many cases the re-exam is almost an exact replica of the first exam. How is this going to create any form of good academic reputation. Additionally due to this 'flexibility' as you refer to it, many professors and student assistants aren't really concerned with if you are learning the concepts well or not because if you do or if you don't you will eventually pass more or less. We also have some issues with student assistants like yourself, where their command of the English language is so poor it renders them incomprehensible and not to mention incapable of explaining basic concepts. I am happy that you seem to be a good assistant and I am hoping there are more like you out there or on the way.

I believe fees are a good thing, especially application fees, that way you immediately weed out the ones who aren't serious about studying. But the exorbitant fees they plan on charging will disadvantage those who do have the desire and ability but be able to afford them. The few scholarships that will be given out will certainly not be enough, unless real intentions are to weed out non-EU students altogether and boost EU numbers as they did in Denmark. One of the best things about Europe is high quality education at a reasonable price, and quite a few non-European students who are serious about studies are funded by their government agencies or their work. With the high fee levels, high cost of living and questionable quality this will all but stop, so in the 'clean-up' to get rid of the weak students they will also get rid of some of the high quality ones that can really make a difference. As you said the real issue if the flexibility which needs to be tackled immediately. I propose a high application fee (more than the 900 SEK) maybe something more like (1500 SEK) which can be waived or deferred under certain circumstances. Reasonable tuition fees (30 000 to 80 000 SEK) and an over all tightening of admission requirements and an overhaul of teaching methods and practices.
14:20 December 3, 2010 by Francisco
I would like to know how they calculated all the economic benefits (not mentioning social and cultural ones) foreign students provide to Sweden. After studying a two years master programme I feel tied to Sweden for life (as well as my wife who came with me). We have already returned three times to Sweden after I finished my studies in 2008. I am currently working in collaboration with Lund University. How do they measure this in economic terms? We will be always ambassadors for Sweden, we always speak good things about Sweden to everybody because we think it's a great country with great people. We encourage people to visit the country as well. I am sure I'll come back to Sweden several more times and will be always with my eyes open to see how I can contribute with the country, either working or helping with other things, as I did, for example, with my master thesis in which I made a research that would benefit Swedish interests. How do they measure all this in economic terms? And don't forget that when we (foreignenrs) study in Sweden we pay a rent and consume your products. Without mentioning that during our two years saty in Sweden 12 people came to visit us that wouldn't have gone to Sweden if we hadn't been there. How much all these benefits worth? Needless to say that it would have been impossible for me to study in Sweden if there had been tuition fees at that time. Lastly, I would like to say: Tack Sweden!!!
14:39 December 3, 2010 by Aureliano Buendia
10,000 (students) x 7,000 (kronor) = 70,000,000 (each month sweden's benefit).

70,000,000 x 10(months app. a year that student spends in sweden) = 700 million SEK - Sju Hundra Miljoner Kronor! This amount is "invested" into Swedish economy, and the Government complains that they spend 500 million on education each year. What do they do with these 500 millions? Is the government going to close some master programs after 2011? Or they will have the same expenses.

Lets face the truth, what could you expect from the Rightist government? Bevara Sverige Svenskt!
17:33 December 3, 2010 by hopeful01
What they really needed to do was follow Germany's model. Introduce fees but reasonable amounts - something around 500 Euro per semester.And stricter admission standards. I am still surprised at how some of these students over here are managing. They are terrible at the subject that they are pursuing their masters in, their English is bewildering and yet they have been granted admission.

Such students shouldn't have been allowed in the first place.

Over the next few years I predict up to 50% of the existing technical departments at Universities to close.

Lycka till
17:45 December 3, 2010 by GlobalVillage
Personally as an international student of Linkoping University, I would say introducing the tuition fees for non-EU students was not a very good idea though. Free higher education for non-EU students should be seen as long term investment rather than thinking as wasting of tax payer's money. I think it is an investment in terms of making the society more tolerant, multi-cultural, one of the top attractive destination for gifted talents and businesses, more modern, more global and ready to face the challenges of 21st century.

I think Sweden needs its unique policy research for its non-EU students. The policy should be based upon its own research not just coping US, UK, Canada policies. To become one of the top leading higher education's providing nations, it should approach down-top approach rather sudden top-down which is bound to fail since Sweden is not US or UK. It took decades for US, UK and Canada to build that requirement to be in the top.

I think the free higher education for non-EU students should remain open for another 10 years and can be reviewed to improve the policies to find flaws in it and how it can be improved. Not just cancelling if does not produce immediate positive results. The problem is with the policy not the objective which is multi-cultural, modern and power full Sweden. The main objective should be "keeping the doors open for talents and businesses and be rational while making the policies".

Comments:

1. Today, the US Canada UK and Australia are attracting huge number of bright to brightest students since they offer many more than just degree which lacks in Sweden in many ways.

2. The unrealistic tuition fees will deter students coming to Sweden and close many doors of opportunity for future modern Sweden.

3. International student considers many issues before seeking admissions such as whether or not English speaking country, multi-cultural society, teaching assistantships, campus job offers, international reputation of the degree, post study job opportunity, final settlements, regional foods and weather etc

4. If at all fees needs to be put then it should be more like Italy, Germany, Denmark, Norway, and Finland. Still policy research required since Sweden can do better than them by adopting completely different approach.

5. Offer more scholarships; create part-time job opportunity and post study job and settlement provision for talents.

6. Review the admissions requirement to get better quality students.

7. Post study potential students should enjoy equal opportunity to seek jobs and competitive settlement path to Sweden or in the EU.
21:20 December 3, 2010 by aoi
It's not free.

You pay by the taxes, or you pay by the fees.
22:15 December 3, 2010 by gardella
I just finished a two year program at Lund University. I would estimate that 90% of the students were from outside the EU (mostly China and Pakistan). I expect this program to essential disappear next year. While the course content was good, the organization was not up to the standards I would expect from a program I was paying for. I do think Swedish universities are going to have a double shock. A huge loss of revenue based on lower enrollment, and higher expectations from the few students who do choose to pay. I have moved back to the U.S. and am no longer a Swedish tax payer, so I can't really grumble, though I am sorry for my Swedish academic friends.
23:36 December 3, 2010 by voidplay
When a student comes here to do mostly a Masters program, He/She is well over 22 years, is mostly well educated. And considering non-EU students outside of N.A. / Australia / Japan / Singapore / S.Korea - most of them are a privileged few who could afford a Bachelor degree. Now you get this valuable resource like uncut diamond, you pay for 1.5 years of polishing and introduction to the Swedish work culture. Education today doesn't cost as much or isn't as exclusive as it once used to be because most of the infrastructure costs have moved into low cost computers. The bulk of the amount goes into paying for the fixed costs, and the system being social would mean that you achieve economies of scale.

But the problem lies elsewhere, the Swedish economy being protective is incapable of absorbing them after graduation. Economic factors point that it is very profitable to import graduates with Bachelors degree for free but it hasn't been very successful. It has been successful though in the past when it helped Swedish companies set up commercial bases, like in Pakistan and Bangladesh, and in exporting high value goods to India, but times have changed a college graduate isn't any more an elitist affair. There is more open competition, and free education to the outsiders does not pay rich dividends in the end, not any more.

So all in all the government plan is not wrong in saying that they do not have much to loose, but there is not much to gain either. Yes, their scholarships would attract bright students but with no hope of finding a decent job after, slim chances of always attracting the brightest.

And personally I have learned a lot more and experienced a lot more outside the class than in it. And it is definitely a pity that fewer people would be able to do the same in the future.
00:59 December 4, 2010 by CanadianInMalmo
I'll share my thoughts on this subject....

I can understand why tuition fees are being introduced, and they seem to be close to what a non-European would pay in most other EU countries - around $10,000 CDN a year. There are a TON of people in the education system, Swedish, EU and non-Euro who are there solely because it is free. Without having to pay tuition, there is little to no value associated to the courses, so if you miss lectures, don't turn in assignments and don't participate, it doesn' matter. This is reflected in the attitudes of some professors as well, who don't return emails, aren't available to discuss the material, do not have organized and planned out lectures and who cancel lectures without warning.

Further, the admission standards for English taught courses are set far too low. There are people in my courses who can barely speak nor write basic English, let alone at a "Master's" level. In addition to poor language skills, plagiarism is another big issue. 'Copy and Paste' from a quick Google search seems to be a common practice for some students, and appears to go with little concern from the professors, making for a Copy and Paste degree - it waters down the quality of the education.

I have suspicions that some students use the free education simply to receive residency in the country. Once they have their passport stamped, they simply try and find work and eek out a living without a second thought for the school they came to Sweden to attend. These people then go on to cry about the difficulties in finding work and how expensive it is to live here. Well, guess what? This is VERY clearly written on the Studera site; it is near impossible to work in Sweden if you don\'t speak Swedish and it is expensive to live here. Other just use the residency permit to stay in the country, while starting their 5th program, not having passed the last 4.

What COULD have been done, hindsight being 20/20, is having students from non EU countries pay an enrollment fee, somewhere around 500-1000 Euros at the start of their program which it then refunded once the course is completed, and completed within a reasonable time frame. This would allow Sweden to keep education free for all who wanted to come here and are serious enough to actually make their degree worth something. Better Applicants = Better Graduates. Better Students = Better Professors.

That being said, I am very happy to be spending a year in Sweden - it is a fun country, the people (yes, Swedes) are generally really nice. So, to all you native Swedes whose tax dollars are paying my tuition this year, thank you, honestly, I am getting more from my time here than just a piece of paper.
06:50 December 4, 2010 by opokuwilliams
First of all, i would like to say that any student who has had the opportunity to study in Sweden should be grateful to the Swedish government and all tax payers in Sweden.

Students and other people should not use the introduction of fees to speak negative words against the very people who have shown kindness and have given us free education. We all have to be realistic. I believe that before the introduction of tuition fees the policy makers of this country might have assessed a lot of factors. The question is how many countries in the world apart from Sweden and probably some Scandinevian countries and some few EU countries have been able to give free tuition for bachelor and master degree programmes to all students irrespective of their nationality until now? I want you to view it from different perspectives, that is (1)Advanced non-EU countries like US, Canada and Australia etc and (2)developing non-EU countries. Why should students from the above mentioned advanced non-EU countries come to Sweden and enjoy free education whilst Swedish students or other EU studends who go to these countries to study have to pay fees? Are there not the same resources used in their universities that are used in Swedish universities? It is unfortunate that majority of the students that will be affected more are from the poor or developing non-EU countries. However, the government has made provision of scholarhips for some of these poor or developing nations. In addition students from all over the world who perform exceptionally well and get admission will be waived from paying tuition fees. This is a good news. I am not saying that it is sweet to pay tuition fee but we must all be realistic in our analysis and arguments. Sweden, other Scandenevian countries and some countries like Germany have invested a lot in international students especially those from the poor and developing ones. Now let´s ponder on the students from the poor or less developed countries. The prblem is, with the exception of some few cases the very students from the poor or less developed nations after receiving free education , upon returning to their country of origin continue to condone and conive with the existing politicians and those holding other positions to exploit their citizens and think of their own selfish interest alone. It is about time that every student who has been part of this free education or others to come, think of how he or she can affect his or her nation positively with the resources invested in him/her. Finally, i say that every student should endeavour to advertise the Swedish universties to the rest of the world.

Be part of the promoters of Sweden and not the accusers!!.

By the Positive Thinker.
07:24 December 4, 2010 by fatandhappy
Wow that is a truly touching way of looking at it....

Now back to reality. They are simply charging too much. If they has went with 3000 or so Euros per year, they would have got a great deal of money to subsidize EU students, and still had some interest. Instead, whatever brain dead moron came up with this idea will see just about no interest, and Sweden will get no money from outside the country. Whatever interest they get from EU students will just cost the taxpayer more.

Is there even one economist in the government who knows anything about planning and revenue modeling?

There are at least 10 other schools that I know of in non-native English speaking countries in Europe that one can attend, and they are all in much cheaper areas as it pertains to their cost of living. This doesn't even count the UK or the US.

I would be surprised if there were more than 100 admitted applicants that will actually pay their own way.
11:28 December 4, 2010 by winterleiden
The problem with the fee introduced in Swedish university is that it doesn't reflect the brand name Swedish universities have. Sweden doesn't have its share of Ivy Leagues and Oxbridges, of which despite its high fees, never run out of applicants. I don't want to compare the quality of education because it's really vague and subjective. Some people likes more independent method learning as what I found during my study in KTH, others might view it as lack of guidance from university staff.

I think for most free university (like in Austria) too, students are expected to take care about their own study, promote independent learning with minimal guidance. This where some students are viewed as lazy/low motivated, they simply didn't fit to the university teaching style.

If Sweden introduced fee for students, I expect much better services at school. Easy sample will be integrated system for module registration, exam registration, online work system etc. It's crazy that in KTH where I studied I need to register all one by one manually. I won't pay EUR50,000 for services and inconvenience like this.

For the same price of EUR50,000 for two-year of master program in Sweden, I'd rather enroll in much prestigious universities in US/UK/France.
13:15 December 4, 2010 by calebian22
I love the use of the word free. In a socialized system free is relative. Education is not free! The taxpayer foots this bill. Since the powers at be don't wish to link a work permit to this "free" education for non-EU students this step is not really surprising. Where is the payoff for the Swedish taxpayer when a foreign student goes home and starts a mom & pop store in Burkina Faso? Not that it is the foreign student's fault, but the current system is basically a dine and dash for education on the taxpayer's kronor.
13:30 December 4, 2010 by kladdkakan
As a non-EU student and as a worker, I'm insulted by these measures. The amounts they expect to collect are outrageous and they don't have the quality or infrastructure (are people guaranteed housing in Lund? no! Are foreigners' applications discriminated against just because they didn't go to high school in Sweden? YES) to justify it.

Here's the thing: I PAY TAXES like many other students. We're not leeches sucking off the system. I do not get CSN and in fact I help pay for Swedish students to get their monthly 8,000. So those figures are wrong - we are not costing Sweden as much as they say we are.
13:58 December 4, 2010 by mojofat
@calebian22 I agree. Imagine the immediate return on investment if there was a way to link a non-EU university student with a work/internship program in their field. Subsidized labor for a Swedish government service or private enterprise (especially technical), experience for the student and not to mention a great way for that student to make contacts in addition to "paying back" their free tuition. Idealistic, I know, but on paper it does sound good.
21:56 December 4, 2010 by goodking
I am really surprised at the poor sense of judgment and contributions displayed here as comments. Use your common sense and you will be just fine.

(1) You are also a Tax payer while is Sweden, even the more Tax payer because you get nothing in return.

(a) You -----> 2 years program = 7300 Kr X 10 months X 2yrs = 146, 000 Kr.

Multiply by 10,000 Students like you = 1.46 billion Kr > (500 X 2) million Kr. So

Sweden runs in excess of about 460 million Kr every two years. Remember that you are one of the Tax payers even the worst (no job).

(b) Most of the teachers confess poor English while some try to justify themselves by simply stating that English is not their language. So, why do you expect the students to be better?

(c) What of the research contributions?

(d) What of the job you created for the unemployed or under-employed Lecturers?

Wake up before you make a comment!
23:03 December 4, 2010 by calebian22
Goodking,

Swedes who have grown up in the Swedish system with parents who have paid salary/property taxes their whole careers also have the same living expenses as the foreigners who have not been part of the system. You can't count living expenses paid for by foreign students as the "equalizer," since Swedes have the same expenses. Sales tax doesn't count either since Swedes who have been part of the system have this same expense. No matter how you slice it, the foreigners have been getting a fantastic deal on the backs of the Swedish citizens. Maybe you should drink some coffee and wake up.
23:54 December 4, 2010 by fatandhappy
Calebian,

You keep missing the point. There will now be almost zero non-eu, so there will be almost no money from this exercise in stupidity. If they had allocated say 25% of the slots to non-eu, then charged them 2-3 K Euro per year, that would have saved the taxpayers tens of millions of kronor with no downside (Assuming the costs remain the same)

Why do you keep talking about free? Sweden should charge, but in a way that puts money in your pockets, not in a way that ensures no non-eu will be there and no money will be gained from it. I am stupefied at how stupid the people in charge are with this issue. A college freshman could have planned this better and embraced fee-paying students at a level the market could bear.
01:22 December 5, 2010 by hammad674
I dont understand what is thinking of Swedes Government. Do they realy think that they are investing on International students when they were offering free education .. Exactly No-

They basically need of International student to populate their universities and at the same time attract educated people. International students spends money here, living expense and even pay Texes, and i think its the biggest investment. Nothing is free here in this cold dark snow place.

Look at the statistics of Swedes People who study at Master Level, They are decreasing year by Year. Those who study just study because of CSN, doesnät it lack quality ? It is almost 70% International student who study, give them publications which they attach to the universities name to make an advertisment in the World.

What about the job conditions, worst ever i have ever seen, even they counts my country as third world but job condition is still better there. Even English is acceptable in thirdworld countries. And what a disgracefull word they use for Non EU student (Thirdworld), thats discusting. And as i know some svenska (Swedish Language) but didnt show infront of swedes, then you hear the conversation of the Swedish students , They are jaloused of international students, I heard many disgraceful words about international students normaly when they talk in swedish infront of you, becasue they think we dont know svenska and talk openly.
02:32 December 5, 2010 by r.jean
I find this very unfortunate and I don't particularly see why a country whose universities rank amongst the top in the world feel it necessary to instill tuition fees, and unreasonably high tuition fees at that. I think they are grossly underestimating the effect that tuition fees will have on their student population. As a North American, I certainly would not be here otherwise, and I know that many very talented overseas students would not be here either.

The diversity of courses will drop significantly. There will be a horrendous learning curve in the coming years when the new students realize they are NOT getting what they paid for out of the Swedish education system and unis will need to change their conduct ANYWAY. If you dont change the system, you will have succeeded in filling your (few) courses with (surprise) Swedish students, and it will lack the research innovation that kept these universities in the top world rankings IMHO.

I would LOVE to see a study on the contributions/impact that international students have on the Swedish education system, and how this could affect the university rankings.

I'm also surprised they didn't gradually try changing other aspects of the application process, such as placing an application fee, ESL testing, or HIGHER STANDARDS for getting in. The fact that they didn't really says alot about the education system, a system I am gradually losing respect for...

Why would I want to be a student here if I am paying doubly for my education through tuition and taxes, the quality of lectures/professors and overall teaching lacks rigor and doesn't question my knowledge (maybe thats just my program), I cannot work while I study, housing is a joke, Swedes seem to have a very myopic view of the rest of the world, and there seems to be no attempt at integrating international students into the Swedish workforce afterwards?

We're not leeching off the system. We've made your schools into what they are.

Good luck Sweden with keeping your universities in high rankings, your classes filled, improving the "quality" of your education, and with convincing overseas students to enroll.
09:10 December 5, 2010 by calebian22
fat and happy,

How am I missing the point? Currently tuition is free for foreigners. However, many others here don't realize there is no money tree and that paying MOMS for groceries does not contribute to the tax coffers in the same way that citizens are burdened with tax.
12:04 December 5, 2010 by prince T
I am sorry for you calebaian22. I want to see how many foreign students that will come in next year.

Let us just wait and see. people come here because it is free. the language and job opportuntity is better in place like uk, us and canada. y waste my money and come here, if i was a foreign student.

i strongly believe it is wiser to regulate the admission process
12:48 December 5, 2010 by Ernesto
This policy is almost laughably ignorant and shortsighted. The person who came up with this should be removed from government. This is political posturing that would make an American Republican proud.

There are at least two obvious economic issues.

First, what sort of talent base is Sweden trying to attract? We need talented educated people to which the small number of foreign students who stay contribute. Sweden admirably tries to do the right thing in providing refuge to people from troubled places in the world. Unfortunately many of these folks are illiterate and it is very expensive to educate and identify and develop their talents so that they might constructively contribute to our society. It is easier and less expensive with people who choose to come here and are ready for university education.

Secondly, as many readers have pointed out, foreign students spend much more money (and pay taxes) in the economy than it costs to educate them. Do the math. Is Borg really that dumb? This demonstrates that this is obviously a political act

There is also a moral dimension to this issue as well that has international political import.

Instead of giving education opportunities to many more people to be educated in a western system, we are shutting down opportunities and turning people over to the fundamentalist enemies of knowledge - east and west. Yes, I realize it is expensive to live in Sweden and most of the students who come are at least middle class but these potential friends will be cut off. Sweden will then only educate the scions of the überclass to continue their economic and political repression. This is immoral.
15:32 December 5, 2010 by ccb
@caleb

I can see your view is quite myopic. Do you know anything about economics? Is Sweden a self-sufficient country? Does it make everything within its shores? No it doesn't! Does it trade with countries outside of the EU? Of course! Hence there is something required called foreign exchange and the long term tourists a.k.a. students bring in billions of crowns worth of foreign money yearly. Since university education here is already 'free' or should I say subsidised for Swedish students, the incremental cost of providing (the albeit limited) services to foreign students is not very large given the current structure of the education system. The infrastructure has to be there for the Swedish students and in many cases it has been there for many years, now with the decline of Swedish students seeking to pursue higher education inside of Sweden (sooooooo many leave to go to English speaking countries to study....it is the in things these day) the utility of this infrastructure is increased by inviting external students. These external students also bring in the money and knowledge lost from those Swedes who seek to study abroad.

Over the last few years many universities have also been able to attract a growing number of students from the US, Canada and Australia, huge non-EU trading partners, who provide quite good economic returns to Sweden. But as I said in earlier comments, I suspect this has little to do with tax burden, it is just a cleansing strategy, which amuses me more than saddens me. When I look at the major research areas in the university faculties and see the huge number of Chinese, Indian and Latin American students who have their names attached to the hundreds of technical research articles pumped out by the universities, which are clearly needed to increase prestige and justify funding. Don't be naive and silly, Sweden doesn't operate in its own little world as so many here seen to believe. And it doesn't have the attraction power of some other countries, so realistic measures are required.

I know I have said a lot of negative things about the higher education here, but in truth it is not horrible, it is a great school environment, excellent facilities, great possibilities for contacts and networking, good research possibilities and very modern and cutting edge in its approach. Despite this, major improvements are required in the learning experiences of all those enrolled in Swedish universities, Swedes, EU and non-EU students alike.
16:08 December 5, 2010 by Nilspet
@ Sandy106 #17 ...did you know that it is almost impossible to get a residence / work permit after your studies in Sweden is completed. You will not be given a window of time to look for jobs and so on. Some people marry or enter relationship in order to buy time while looking for a job. This is unlike in Denmark and UK and some other countries where you can get a permit extended without problems once you claim the degree. In Sweden you will be kicked out after you have finished your studies. I know people who got a PhD from here and almost deported as he could not a job within 1 day after his student visa expires.
17:42 December 5, 2010 by fatandhappy
@ Caleb,

I have no problem with Sweden charging, and charging for the application as well. The problem is that the level of fees they are charging, they might as well have banned non-eu students, and that is very bad. It is at least 3 times as high as the rate that would still attract anyone.

@Ernesto,

Good points, except the attack on Republicans? Put down the crack pipe, the Democrats in my native CA utterly destroyed the school system throughout my life, and the teachers unions enjoy a monopoly and pension system that has literally bankrupted the state.

Your other stuff was good though...
18:04 December 5, 2010 by akhokhay
Harvard university $37,916 (including University health service fees)

KTH ~ $35000!

What do I look like an idiot!
18:11 December 5, 2010 by silly t
if i had that amount of money when considering where to study abroad, the UK and US would be top priorities.

In GU-Handelshögskolan, three english programs closed becuase of the introduction of the GMAT. Add the tuition fee and all the englsih programs are closed. take the bet. Tuision fee saga is a watch and see!
22:37 December 5, 2010 by babzil
Aside education ministry now, what are d Ministers of integration and Immigration doing concerning this. The impression i get is that they are far from knowing what the reality and problem most student face here in Sweden. How COMPETITIVE could Swedish education system be without involving thesame educated immigrants in easy settlement and integration plan, This is Wonderful!!
09:44 December 6, 2010 by msaad
Let's agree on the fact that when a very respected and developed country like Sweden when it comes to take a decision, that being after deep, careful and scientific studies and planning and not random feelings are the decision driver.

And of course it is difficult for us to judge because we don't see the complete picture ! But there is a very smart methodology to implement new strategy which is to begin with the extreme condition and gradually make it easier or cheaper in our case.

The question remains, are the average students who can't afford paying high tuition fees wouldn't be able to study in Sweden ? Probably Yes

World is moving very fast and so we should ! don't stop and keep asking how and why. Go ahead in alternative steps but remember to watch and learn.
11:18 December 6, 2010 by glamshek
As an international student I have to say that, nobody from Asian world at least wants to come to Sweden with fees from their own coffers. Main reason is that these students need money along with studies which is only possible if students are offered part-time jobs. Since part-time job as an International student is not possible, mainly coz of language barrier, nobody want to come here. That's why English-speaking countries attact more students from Asia.

Secondly the quality of US education is regarded as better and the name of US with technical education makes your degree more recognizable as compared to Swedish degree. However I must say that education standard here is no less than US but problem is your assimilation in market after studies. Moreover Europe is famous for racism and thats what we experienced everywhere from class to parties to jobs. As an example I would say, visit the ICA stores near the areas where foriegners live and visit the same stores near Swedish locals. In jobs where there are more foreigners, they pay you less arguing that its exempted to follow the labour codes which are normal for other companies recruiting Swedes. Take SDR, the reklam distribution company as an example. Mostly poor students do it. Its just one such company. There are many more. Racism tastes bad !
15:07 December 6, 2010 by banana_republic
anyone coming to Sweden with these tuition fees should be a complete retard. With the same price or less you can have a much better degree in the UK or even US, whose schools are far better than any Swedish university.

Basically the only reason why any international student would choose Sweden on his own would be that it was free.

Denmark had the exact same experience and their number of international students fell by about 90%. Which means only the ones who had to be there came there...

On the other hand, this achievement might be the main goal of such a decision. If so, they should come right and say it: cut out international students...because we don't want immigrants here!
18:20 December 6, 2010 by matale
Sweden has greatly over estimated the perceived value of its Universities in the eyes of foreigners, Swedish universities have almost ZERO brand value in most countries, i.e to an employer a Community College in the US is more recognized than a KTH or Lund degree. I agree that we should pay fees, but the prices they have set are simply ridiculous not to mention the huge cost of living.

Furthermore I would say that the level is education is average at best, I have found the practical aspect especially laking, I predict a swift reduction in tuition fees.

Also there is a minimal attempt to try to integrate us into Swedish society or to make us feel part of the community, even some school events/clubs/societies are advertised only in Swedish. For your Masters thesis they tell you "Go find a project in industry" knowing full well Imran's and Irfan's application doesn't get the same attention as Bjorn and Sven.
18:45 December 6, 2010 by Nilspet
@glamshek

You are right. Europe is still full of racists, Sweden in particular. As a resident here I feel ashamed of this. Anyway I must say that if you can deal with such people then you can operate here without problems.

It is totally stupid to charge this much. Swedish universities may be able to offer good education but they cannot offer welfares like those in the US, Australia and it is almost impossible to find decent part-time and jobs after your graduation.

According to official info: there are VERY FEW Swedish universities in Top 200 ranking. If you have to pay equally much then UK, US, Australia, Japan even Singapore are better choices for sure.
19:11 December 6, 2010 by glamelixir
I am a foreigner and I think that introducing a fee is perfect.

I wish my country would do the same, as everyone from all neighbouring countries are coming to study for free on our taxes. We have the best education in the aread though, and it is true that Swedish education is.. mmm well, so so, but is there a point in bringing students in just beause the education is free and not because the universities are good?

I hope that this idea improves the level to make Sweden suitable for foreigners to study due to its excellence and not its cheapness.
20:38 December 6, 2010 by Tall swede
To all foreign students who complain: do you want your own country to provide free health care to everyone in the world? Im sure all sick africans or asian people would buy a lot of food to compensate for their expensive operations and care, and also be very grateful when their lives are saved. No?

Your tax money you pay in sweden do not even cover the cost for sewage, transportation (you do know that SL is to 50 % subsidized by tax money?) and all other tax funded parts of swedish society. And most of the money you spend on rent and food actually goes to producing the food and maintaining houses. You cant just add that and then claim an equal amount in return. You cant go to a store and buy groceries and then expect to get twice that in food and education for that money!
22:13 December 6, 2010 by asee
I am student in swedish university and really thankful for proving free education. really appreciated :)
22:21 December 6, 2010 by Just_Kidding
....#28 said:

.... create part-time job opportunity and post study job and settlement provision for talents...

Would you please specify how? Governments all over the world are struggling to create jobs for their own people...
01:13 December 7, 2010 by Nilspet
@ Tall swede

I am sorry to say that you completely miss the point and your viewpoint is very obsolete and actually totally inaccurate. One cannot afford to think like that in the globalized world!!! Let me tell you: when you go to China to ride the WORLD FASTEST TRAIN, the Maglev, and you will only pay 60 SEK per trip .. do you think that fare covers the whole cost of the project? When Swedes go to Thailand for vacation for 1 month ..they think it is cheap..yes it is very cheap there but that is mostly because VAT (MOMS) in Thailand on everything is 7% or 0%..and when Swedish tourists go to hospitals in Thailand they pay e.g. 100 SEK for an X-ray and 70 SEK for a treatment ..the same price as Thais would pay but in principle it costs them a lot more to invest in building top quality hospitals and the tourists do not have to pay that. When Thai tourists come to Sweden they have to pay 10 times more than locals/EU citizens pay. Can you see the something weird? But it is considered inhumane by Thailand to charge tourists 10 time more in order to cover every single expense that is behind their worldclass medical infrastructures and manpower. Another example (out of millions of them!): Swedish IT companies establish themselves on the soil of India and pay Indian IT engineers 10 kr per hour ...you know what...that does not at all cover the cost for education those people and certainly not for infrastructures than the Indian government has to build to facilitate everything.

OK..if you still do not understand this. Swedes go to the US to study at American public/private universities they pay tuition fees (or get a waiver if they are on scholarships) much like most locals do but do you know that those fees do not cover the cost of establishing the universities. And it is really good for the US if Swedish students choose to stay on to become workforces and brainpower for the country. It is like getting educated people for free. This is why foreign students are desirable by most civilized countries!

You SHOULD be grateful that foreign students (EU or nonEU or whatever) choose to come and study in our country. Sweden needs educated and skilled labor and this is the cheapest and the quickest way to get it. Charging foreign students is not wrong but it should be at competitive prices on the global scale. Imagine 5000 foreign graduated students choose to stay on in Sweden to work then the country gets not only increase in GDP output (perhaps new innovations, etc etc) but also taxes to sponsor us all. We are living in the globalized world, do not forget that. I hope you are better informed now.
02:05 December 7, 2010 by cabralb
One point that is definitely true is that the Swedish education has opened a vital gate for many students throughout the world. Thanks alot, the swedish people and government. Likewise, the effect of introducing such a tuition fee will definitely result in an almost 0% international enrollment, for many reasons. On the other hand, other European universities will reap the harvest in abundance.
02:51 December 7, 2010 by thebittertruth
Thebittertruth is that SWEDEN doesnt need anybody. Lets be satisfied with that hypocritcal smile they give us and then turn around to verbally stab us with questions like " When are you Leaving"? @ omansour I find your hypocrisy disgusting. But I cannot blame you because the system that FEARS to absorb the real skilled students decided to absorb half-baked self acclaimed scholars like yourself. You should be ashamed of yourself. Let me give you a bit of information that probably escaped your warped imagination:First, those making admission decisions based on English make very flawed decisions, that is why they would admit students who waive a letter saying they are proficient in English but can t even formulate a meaningful sentence JUST LIKE YOURSELF.You are somewhat an elite amongst this class of low grade students whom you so strongly chastise on this forum. STUDERA has repeatedly turned away meritorious students with a grounded Bachelors Degree in English . The excuse has always been that they lack ENGELSKA B. Give me a freaking break!!!! Just what is Engelska B, as taught in Gymnasiums compared to a 15 year study period in real English? and yet when one comes with a Bachelors Degree from an Anglo-saxone institution they are denied a place at a Swedish University for want of that infamous Engelska B. Let me give you a rotten anecdote that smacks of institutional hypocrisy. My Masters Class had students from pretty all the continents on Earth. The first time we wrote an Exam, ALL the European students FAILED. ALL of us from AFRICA passed. The re-exam was simply a charade, and all the students who took the re-exam scored straight VG,s- Call that preposterous ...But that is what Happened. After that incident, we were NEVER again subjected to Examination Conditions for the rest of the Program. This situation provided the Leeway for the Professors to dish out the grades as they desired.Unfortunately for us who came from AFRICA, and who have been accustomed to a culture of HARD WORK , we never got above a C grade for our efforts. On the contrary, the American , Swedish and other European Students scored straight VGs. We were informed that our writing lacked FOCUS, and we didnt have any argumentational logic. When a certain professors needed editing for her work to get published, she didnt give it to the Native English Speaker from the USA nor to any of the straight VG students...She gave it to one of her less meriting students who did a marvelous work on the project and it got published..So why the hypocrisy?? The argument about Swedish tax payers funding the education of non-EU students makes me SICK.I work, my non EU friends work and pay taxes, so that the majority of Swedish Student get CSN. Why not tell your legislators to push a bill abolishing taxes for non EU residents ? It is only by doing this that YOUR SELF RIGHTEOUS CLAIM of Tax payers funding non EU students stands a chance of having some .CREDIBILITY..
08:15 December 7, 2010 by Bork
I had intended to go to graduate school in Sweden next year until they stopped covering international students.

The fees now are absolutely ridiculous. You can pay half or quarter as much and go to better ranked universities in Canada, or pay nothing and go to a university in Norway or Finland, or pay a tiny, tiny fraction of Sweden's new tuition fees and choose from far more universities in Germany. Sweden's fees are now comparable to the UK for international students, or lower ranked US universities.

Another problem is if you look at the scholarships and grants, they favor those from developing countries. Tough luck if you're from the US, Canada, or Australia.

There's no way this isn't going to back fire. No one in their right mind outside the EU is going to want to pay so much to attend Swedish universities unless they're filthy rich or obsessed with Sweden.

Another point, pricing people out is not an effective way to deal with barely motivated, poorly educated foreign students. You also lose a lot of good students by doing this. Being a smart and motivated student has nothing to do with the wealth they, or most likely their parents, possess. When international students look at universities, they're looking at price, ranking, and future job potential in that country. Sweden is now more expensive than many other EU countries, including the UK. Only 2 universities are in the top 100, neither in the top 50. And everyone complains about how difficult it is to find work as a student and after graduating in Sweden. In addition to all of that is the notorious weather.

You want to deal with the bad students and still draw talent to Swedish universities? Institute entrance exams and build the reputation of your schools up. People consistently complain about how disappointed they are by Sweden's universities, and that was when they were free.
11:20 December 7, 2010 by seymourir
Soon we will see many inefficient English departments which will be closed and many so called professors who will end up with their bitter coffees home alone, reflecting on their old good days, where they could walk proudly, spending their tax payers' money, pretending to do crappy research!
12:15 December 7, 2010 by babzil
Sad to say, the leaders need to really sit and think about the defects present in the system. I mean what kind of CIVILLIZED AND DEVELOPED society wont value international students as important set of immigrants. The migration laws are more open and integrating towards assylum seekers compared to graduates from Swedish universities.....what a SHAME!!! THE DUMBEST FOOL IN THE WORLD WOULD BE THE FIRST TO COME TO SWEDEN TO PAY WITH THIS SICK LAWS ON GROUND. My advice for you as a prospective international student THINK TWICE, if you have your money GO AND STUDY IN UK,CANADA,US,AUSTRALIA,DENMARK, I bet your future is more secured and you would never regret the step. A word is enough for the wise.
12:29 December 7, 2010 by GlobalVillage
..#61 said: Would you please specify how?

I think responsible commission simply copied the tuition fees part from US, Canada or UK without making proper investigation on the ground reality of Sweden's global position for international students. If they could copy the fees from them, they could have also try to investigate how those countries are meeting those needs of international students they look for. I am not fully against the tuitions fees but it should more realistic, pragmatic, and aligns with similar level countries.

We are putting our comments but many of us (including me) not sure what really government wants? Do they really want international students to come from non-EU countries at all (I doubt)? Do they really think gifted talents and business investment makes Sweden more competitive? Do they really want to improve the image of Swedish degrees to be more global and competitive for all (including Swedes)? Do they really want more tolerant and multicultural society rather get stuck in the old days thinking?

If I am not wrong, even in the recession those mentioned countries remain on top of the list where students want to go and get better deal.
13:01 December 7, 2010 by Nilspet
I totally agree with comments #67 and #68 even though they both use different languages. Sweden is most likely going to lose more than gain following this stupid changes. How many Swedish universities are in top 200 let alone top 100? What are prospects of working here after graduation ? The migration law for non EU students is very bad. You have to renew it every year and the renewal itself takes ages sometimes more than 3 months. In the US, UK, Australia, NZ, .. you get a visa for the whole program and you can more easily find part-time jobs and you are valued as assets of those countries. In Sweden nonEU students are treated as garbage by migration law after their graduation.

This policy is like drifting into the backwardness....
13:30 December 7, 2010 by babzil
Once again I have ANNOUNCEMENT to make!!!! This goes out to all PROSPECTIVE INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS outside the border of sweden.....PLEASE THINK TWICE....before you pay that 900KR application fee on studera.nu, before paying those 100000'S OF KRONES. SWEDEN has nothing better 2 offer you as an INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS. SAVE YOUR FUTURE, YOUR CAREER. apply and get admitted to study in a society where you are valued and needed for instance: (CANADA,UK,US, AUSTRALIA...E.T.C). SWEDEN is ok for prospective ASSYLUM SEEKERS, , . Dont ever be decieved by what you see on those fancy things you see on Swedish University websites, IM SURE U HAVE EAR!! cus this might be the biggest mistake your would ever make in your life, as regards investing in your education. There is no crime in tuititon payment for education elsewhere BUT WITH SWEDEN, please dont gamble with you hard earned money.
15:49 December 8, 2010 by linuxcity
The tuition in the States is high, but at least they can find part-time job to support themselves. 60 million fund for scholarships... according to the figure (700,000) given, it only can benefits 70 internal students.
10:56 December 9, 2010 by Sandy106
@Nilspet #48, I knew about that, yes. I was planning on possibly marrying my girlfriend in the summer between years 2 and 3 of university, but I'm kind of doubting that will happen now either.
13:02 December 9, 2010 by arslan11
I applied for visa renewel about a month ago with every thing (credits, bank statement) in order and planned to visit my country during Christmis holidays.. . After waiting 1 hour in queue the migrationsverket customer service said DELAY YOUR TRAVEL AS WE HAVE NOT MAKE A DECISION AND IT MAY TAKE ANOTHER MONTH OR SO..

Still anyone beleive that students will pay 100,000+ Krona for this sort of crap infrastructure????
17:43 December 9, 2010 by hammad674
Swedish EDUCATION SYSTEM is DESCRIMINATIVE. Many inequalities found for Non-EU International Students especially for Asian and African. There are many example of that. For instance When a Swedes present a thesis he got VG and offered Phd Scholarship. But when an International student presents a good thesis, just say some praising pharases, published with University tag and when it comes to Phd, it is said we dont have Fund. What a Crap. One more example, International students are subject to Plagearism much strictly and when some swedes thesis found to be a same word to word copy of a thesis found on Internet, Teacher said it may be accidently manually checked and might not go through Urkund (Plagearism detection Software). But we cant do anything just because his name was Eric or Johansson. But when some international student make a minor mistake in a minor assigment. he is subjected to be a major crimnal.

PEOPLE are RESERVE, I guess many Americans, Britishers and Germans, Spanish etc are way better people in term of social prospective. If you dont know svenska (Swedish Language), you sure will feel yourself isolated.

Jobs, No way man, No job for english man specially in small cities and town. CVs are scanned with the Full name. If you are Johansson, Svan, or Jonus then you are welcomed and your CV will be scanned further. Otherwise Forget that you will recieve any call.
21:48 December 9, 2010 by blondelover
@hammad , damn correct what you said. I experienced in my univ. I worked like anything day and night I made such a mirculous design in the end professor didnt even appreciate. I know its a great innovation. but swedish guy he just did some replica project which you can found in net.

the same topic was presentened, he got best innovation for his project in confrence at US.

Lets make a proper education system that all swedish and internation student can study together if not atleast the level should be same. then you can see how many swedish struggled to get pass in subjects first of all if they scrutunize as "foreign student".

Its shame sweden its shame sweden first dont call internation students if you dont have proper facilites and make them suffer like anything.

first of all swedish professors should learn one thing appreciating and motivating students they lack lot in it. BTW "am not against about tution fee all blaaaaaaa blaa bla stuff". first improve your attitude towards the student
23:13 December 9, 2010 by mojofat
As a non-EU international student myself I'm surprised at some of the comments I'm reading. Really, truly, your educational opportunity is what you make of it. I've been, frankly, astonished at some of the low quality international students in my classes. As in, how-the-hell-did-this-person-even-get-in astonished. Sure enough, I've heard them complain about the course or instructor or swedes in general. Obviously, I don't believe one group of people should get preferential treatment over another...but I wouldn't be surprised if it happens (swedes getting a bit of cultural preference). Personally though, I know I go in with a positive attitude and have made the effort to make friends with my swedish classmates and professors. In all cases, I believe it's been reciprocated and I've gained tremendously from the effort.

Too many students expect to have everything handed to them or given a set of instructions telling them exactly what to do. By the time you're in grad school you should know how to think and problem solve. I suggest that if you believe the system is against you here, then maybe it's time to look a bit more closely at yourself and what you can do to change your attitude. As for racism, I keep hearing about it but haven't seen it myself. I'm sure it exists, just as it exists every place there are humans, but all in all I've found swedes to be nothing if not fair-minded and very socially conscious. Again, if you're not getting the results you want then perhaps it's your cognitive ability, attitude, or work ethic that has more of an impact on that than just "racist swedes" or what-not. Just a thought.
23:48 December 9, 2010 by grantike
The government have the right to put fees for anybody at all at any time but the fees are so ridiculous i mean my parents make joint pay of 100 k every month .with mortgage and car bills and other other stuffs.they will not even be able to pay that fee for two of my younger ones not even for one .how much more about foreigners.who even came up with all this prices?.those teachers cannot even be able to pay for themselves if they are to study again.its a shames.students in London on their own protest.what is wrong with politicians for crying out loud.we need to get out of office as soon as possible !!!!!!! dang
10:17 December 10, 2010 by BCR
Look.

My wife and I pay over 70 000 SEK per month in taxes. I am happy for my taxes to go towards paying for the education of the people of this country, but there isn't enough to pay for the education of the rest of the world... tough luck.

Hopefully when our daughter reaches the age where she will want to attend university, education will still be free for Swedish nationals... unlike the recent developments in the UK.
11:33 December 10, 2010 by Nilspet
@ BCR

Sorry to hear that you pay over 70 000 SEK per month but then it means you guys are dxxx rich according to medelsvensson. That is not international (non EU) students'f fault. I am from here and I think it is wonderful that nonEU students choose to come to Sweden. It makes sense to charge them but it must be at reasonable rate and we have to IMPROVE and INTERNATIONALIZE our education, welfares and facilities before charging them like they do in other civilized western countries that make money from selling education.

I can tell you quickly that your 70000 kr skatt går inte direkt till utbildningen!

The state pays for the war game in Afghanistan far more than they pay in educating non EU students. Furthermore there are discriminative rules concerning these newly introduced tuition fees. There are nonEU who do not have to pay if they come here as sambo, etc etc.

And that we do not charge EU students at all when we have to pay if we go to some EU countries to study.

I would propose the government to charge non-EU students regardless what status they have but up to max 30000 SEK per academic year but before that we have to internationalize our system. We should have better facilities and ready manpower for this kind of business. That nonEU students pay is good for them to so that they can have their heads up and tell us that "hey we are bringing money here to pay for your kids education"

Also remember that whoever lives here has to pay 25% moms to the government in most things they buy so having 10000 nonEU students here we get for sure 220 MSEK per year if they spend 7000 SEK each. So in reality the government spends only 250 MSEK for these 10000 talented people. If we give them the opportunity to remain here to work then we can get more money back from them later on. So far we treat them just like "skit" after they graduate. To tell you the truth again: it costs the state MUCH more for refugees and other kinds of immigrant even from EU, not to mention many other things that the state waste money on without getting anything back. Investing in education is the best thing any civilization would do. The return is always big.
15:58 December 13, 2010 by alecLoTh
Well said.

I'm currently doing a programming degree here in Sweden, I have been here 3 years. Throughout that time I have only worked 2 summers, I have never had part-time employment in between - not due to lack of effort or ability.

I previously operated an IT company, but mostly driven by passion, not knowledge - study was my way to 'do it right' and remain relevant in the future.

I think the quality of my program is dubious at best, but why look a gift horse in the mouth. I am suited to the self-study methodology required for this course, but If I had to pay I'd go to a place that gives me equal chance to work, even in a bar or store while studying.

Many are of my colleagues are bright, some already earning money over the internet as freelancers as there are no jobs for foreigners....but no one is asking for more special favours, the education is the favour.

We are finishing this year and already many seem to have exhausted all efforts on remaining here after study and have planned to go elsewhere, UK seems popular. But if these people had the means to work, even a year in a tech company, maybe create a start-up, then Sweden would get it's money back and more.

But there is no way, nothing short of marriage or cohabitation.

What a waste, a waste of talent - you already have them here, a waste of resources teaching them so they take it elsewhere, a waste of time for all involved.

I for my part have started a web-based company, am already employing classmates. I know start-ups can fail, but its my duty to try.

My advice would be to charge an application fee, a retainer which is refundable if you remain a year or 2 after study - this way it's a win-win.
21:52 January 9, 2011 by ionut
Let me guess, US charges like crazy for some poor education, so why Sweden shouldn't?Maybe they will offer scholarships based on some criteria.Free for everybody was plain dumb.
19:58 April 12, 2011 by Elina Smith
I hope Sweden would introduce scholarships and would facilitate students to study at her universities. Here following link I tried to convince people to still not be disappointed by Swedish decision of tuition fees:

http://www.goforstudy.com/swedens-efforts-to-compensate-high-tuition-fees.html
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