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Backlash over student loan crackdown

The Local · 21 May 2010, 17:15

Published: 21 May 2010 17:15 GMT+02:00

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As The Local reported on Thursday, Sweden’s student loan body CSN is cracking down on students who have received funding for full time studies but who have not been studying full time.

The dispute centres on the fact that some courses classed as full time by universities are not classed as full time by CSN. Universities say honest students are being caught in a bureacratic trap, and have been given just days to pay back money they don’t have.

A full-time student must obtain 60 academic points per year, which in most universities equals 30 points a term. Some colleges, like the Royal Institute of Technology, distribute their 60 points a year differently over the two terms, with 40 points completed one term and 20 the next. As far as CSN is concerned, the student has not been studying full time during the second term.

The student union at the Royal Institute of Technology estimates that 400 students have been sent letters demanding money back. Student union chairman Tobias Porserud says one student has been told to repay 23,000 kronor by May 31st.

“At first the letters the students received said that if they didn’t pay the money back before May 31st, the student loan body would be forced to notify the police. They later apologized for this, but it still absurd,” Porserud told The Local.  

Peter Gudmundsson, principal at the Royal Institute of Technology, said the demands were unacceptable:

“We are trying to help the students as much as we can through a dialogue with the student loan body,” Gudmundsson told The Local.

Officials at the student loan body were unrepentant:

“We have our rules to follow, and in this aspect they clash with certain schools point systems, but our laws are set by the government and we need to follow them,” Klas Elfing, press secretary at the student loan body tells The Local.

“According to our policies the students who only complete 20 points a term, but 60 points per year, do not qualify for full time support and yes, we will be demanding money back from them,” says Elfing.

The government says it understands the students position and knows it is not their fault, but claims that there is nothing they can do about it:

Story continues below…

“This is a case of two authorities who haven’t been communicating with each other,” Eva-Maria Byberg, spokeswoman for the minister of higher education Tobias Krantz, told The Local.

A meeting between universities and the student loan body is scheduled for the middle of June - long after many students are being required to repay the money.

Porserud says the meeting with the parties involved is set too late, when there are students who are meant to pay back their money two weeks before the meeting is even held.

The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

18:25 May 21, 2010 by krow
The system in place is faulty by the CSN. 60 credit point is what is needed.in a year. Why not check for students who have registered and ran away for the year rather than using the crazy one semester. Besides there is no incentive for people who did more courses than the 60 points in question
07:18 May 22, 2010 by tillerman
Tuition is free but some some students think it is a good idea to buy some food now and then.
10:32 May 22, 2010 by uunbeliever
@little-lulu, to continue on the previous comment, it is sometimes nice to have a roof over your head while eating, or clothes, or transportation. . .
13:07 May 22, 2010 by La Figaro
@tillerman and @uunbeliever, excellent, nicely put
13:23 May 22, 2010 by americanska
considering the housing costs in sweden it's actually probably not much cheaper then going to school in the US or UK - but at least in Sweden we get to pay super high taxes to fund the people that aren't motivated enough to finish a candidate before they are 30.
09:37 September 2, 2010 by angelH
For the younger generations, charge card debt is not the largest debt they carry any longer. Now it's debt for college education. The old saw about paying for school through working may not be feasible anymore. The cost of a four year degree has risen dramatically over the last two decades. More people have to get federal loans, financial institution loans, or go to other loan

lenders to pay for their education. Debt settlement relief unavailable when it comes to student loansThere is also a very high risk of default on scholar loans. Student loan personal debt is one of the many headaches that have become part of pursuing the American Dream.
12:23 May 27, 2011 by nathanS
Private, for-profit colleges are not all created equal, and scholars should be diligent about any they may be thinking about. Scholars that went to for-profit universities default more than their peers at other schools, and these institutions battle often with state and the federal government. Scholars thinking about a degree at a for-profit should do some research on the institution before attending. I found this here: Personal loans to attend for-profit schools can be risky, personalmoneystore.com/moneyblog
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