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Foreign students to pay university fees

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Foreign students to pay university fees
11:32 CET+01:00
University fees for foreign students studying in Sweden will be introduced in the autumn of 2011, the Swedish government announced on Friday morning.

The government will present its proposition to parliament later on Friday, university and higher education minister Tobias Krantz told reporters.

"We want to compete in the international education market on the quality of Sweden's education system, rather than simply because Sweden's education is free of charge," Krantz said.

"Sweden is one of the easiest countries in the world to apply for a university place, with a large number of foreign students and high number of online courses - but many of these don't complete their studies."

Krantz conceded that numbers may fall initially.

"In the short term it is reasonable to expect that numbers will fall, but Sweden is a knowledge nation, we have strong English skills and many courses are held in English; I am convinced that in the longer term we will continue to attract large numbers of foreign students to Sweden," Krantz said.

The minister confirmed that the government was not at this stage able to specify the level of the new fees but noted as a basic principle that the fees should cover the costs of education provision.

"We will come back with information over how high the charge will be, I can not state how high it is today. It will vary depending on education and place of learning," Krantz said.

Speaking to The Local last May, Anders Steinwall at the education ministry said each university would be able to decide its own fees, but added that the estimated average would amount to 70,000 to 80,000 kronor ($9,500 to $11,000) per year.

The government also announced that two scholarship systems will be introduced.

The first scholarship system, worth 30 million kronor ($4 million) per annum, will be directed at students in the 12 countries with which Sweden holds long-term aid agreements.

The second, amount to 60 million kronor per annum from 2012, will be available for exceptional students.

The fees will be introduced for students from countries outside of the EU/EEA area.

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