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Sweden mulls application fees for foreign students

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08:02 CEST+02:00
Students from outside the European Union (EU) may soon be required to pay 1000 kronor ($143) just to apply for admission to Swedish colleges and universities.

According to a proposal from the Swedish Agency for Higher Education Services (Verket för högskoleservice – VHS), the fee would be in place in time for students applying for admission for the 2011 academic year, reports the Dagens Nyheter (DN) newspaper.

In addition to applicants from within the EU, exchange students would also be exempt from any eventual fee.

The proposed fee comes following years of increasing numbers of applications from foreign students wishing to study in Sweden.

This autumn, Swedish universities received 114,900 applications from non-European students. Of the total, around 18,000 eligible students were offered admission.

The rising tide of applications has resulted in increased administrative costs for many universities and agencies, and VHS believes that introducing the application fee will lead to more serious and thoughtful applications and deter less motivated applicants.

VHS plans to hand over its proposal to the government on Monday for consideration.

In tasking the agency to explore the matter, the government had said it hoped to implement application fees in time for the 2010 academic year. But VHS said that trying to move so quickly would risk a total breakdown in the application system for both Swedish and foreign students.

“That could result in chaos because a large number of the applications would have to be dealt with manually. But even if it starts in 2011, we need to know by October at the latest in order to get the application and payment systems in place,” VHS director Anita Johansson told DN.

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