More foreign students at Swedish universities

Foreign students are increasingly turning to Sweden for higher education, a new report says.

According to the Swedish National Agency for Higher Education’s (Högskoleverket) 2005 report, the number of foreign students turning to Sweden has steadily increased during the past decade, while the number of students entering higher education in Sweden decreased. There were 350,000 students in total last fall.

Of the 81,800 new students beginning college in 2004-2005, 16,400 of them were from other countries, said the report. During the past eight years, the total number of foreigners has increased from nine percent of freshmen to nearly 20 percent.

But after several decades of growth, there are now fewer students entering Swedish universities and colleges. The decrease is said to be due to higher education’s financial situation.

“During 2004, universities and colleges educated more than they had money for,” said report spokesman Stig Forneng. “The universities and colleges went several hundred million kronor in debt, but now they have their economies in balance.”

In the short term, the change isn’t troubling, said Forneng. But soon many students will leave high school and they will have less of a chance at getting into college if the system doesn’t get more money.

The number of students within research has decreased nearly 25 percent during the past two years.

“That will create big consequences in the future,” said Sigbrit Franke, the agency’s chef. “The admissions freeze at a lot of institutions means that you will miss out on many talented researchers.”