Sweden moves ahead with uni application fees

In a bid to reduce high administration costs, Sweden's government is calling for non-European Union applicants to be slapped with a registration fee when seeking admission to the country's colleges and universities.

A bill regarding the proposed registration charge is scheduled to be presented in January 2010, along with recommendations for tuition fees for students outside the EU.

With a legislative change around the corner, the government has already asked the country’s institutes of higher eduction and the Swedish Agency for Higher Education Services (Verket för högskoleservice – VHS) to begin preparing for the introduction of registration fees.

Calls for the levying of registration fees have followed on the heels of a glut of applications from outside the EU, amounting to 100,000 this autumn alone. VHS has previously advocated the introduction of a registration fee of around 1,000 kronor ($140) to help cover its high administrative costs for translation and other services.

Much of the overseas interest stems from the fact that third level studies in Sweden, unlike in many other countries, are free.

As The Local reported in May, prospective students from outside the EU or European Economic Area (EEA) are expected to begin paying tuition fees from 2011, a proposal set to be including in the coming bill. Aside from the 27 EU members states, the EEA also incorporates Liechtentein, Switzerland, Norway and Iceland.

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