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New university admission policies to be reviewed

TT/The Local · 21 Jul 2010, 14:19

Published: 21 Jul 2010 14:19 GMT+02:00

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The new rules have been criticized for penalising foreign and older applicants, said Higher Education and Research Minister Tobias Krantz.

"The core of the reform remains the same," Krantz told Sveriges Radio's Ekot news bulletin. "What we are doing now is opening up to discuss how it should look like on the fringe of reform."

He added, "We get to be honest and say that we could not foresee all of the consequences. We will appoint a new commission to go through this properly."

Critics allege that applicants with foreign qualifications are placed in their own selection group. Places are allocated to a percentage of applicants in each group, resulting in a small risk of the foreign group not securing any spots in higher education.

This may violate EU law and the Nordic agreement, which ensures treating all candidates equally.

Criticism is also directed towards the new admission qualification points system, which "rewards" those who take more math and language courses in senior secondary school, which applies to younger candidates.

Applicants who have qualifications the previous senior secondary school system in Sweden, or those born in 1983 and earlier, cannot earn more points this way.

"We are of course open to discuss the time limits," Krantz told news agency TT.

Story continues below…

He defended the points system, saying the purpose is to encourage more high school students to pursue advanced math and language courses, emphasising their importance. However, how the points can be combined with equal treatment of all applicants remains to be seen.

The National Agency for Higher Education (Högskoleverket) pointed out that it would require an enormous effort to compare the levels of senior secondary school mathematics across different countries.

The Social Democrats have pledged to drop the new admission criteria if they are elected in the autumn election.

TT/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

14:54 July 21, 2010 by hilt_m
"We get to be honest and say that we could not foresee all of the consequences. We will appoint a new commission to go through this properly."

In other words, we didn't do our job properly and now we are trying not to look like an idiot. Fail.
14:57 July 21, 2010 by gorgepir
Without foreign PhD students, Sweden will have little to no research done in the engineering fields. This is the situation as it is right now, so you can talk and analyze all you want.

Not that I am bashing the system, I am very grateful to have such an opportunity. Just I am now realizing that even though you need us more than we need you, you treat us like second-hand citizens. If I had gone to McDonald's I would have more rights (like permanent residency) than research and teaching your children. To me, it seems you are just trying to alienate those who are still remaining. You are doing a good job on that, by the way.
15:46 July 21, 2010 by Puffin

Of course if you knew anything about Sweden you would know know that this legislation was not the idea of the current Higher Education Minister who was not in post when it was passed


Not quite sure what your point is

This doesn't relate to PhD students at all as they are no admitted on a points based system. They are admitted purely on merit in direct competition with other applicants.

Foreign applicants are not the only ones to be discriminated - The government has also discriminated against older Swedes since 2006

- the withdrawl of the mature students entry system - the 25:4 rule ( for applicants over 25 with 4 years + work experience

- and not this new rule that bars older applicants from popular courses such as medicine and law by a new system of subject bonuses that did not exist before
16:07 July 21, 2010 by mikmak
@gorgepir You're teaching children as a PhD student? Must be KTH ;)
16:13 July 21, 2010 by gorgepir

Almost all the foreign PhD students come from the international master programs, which with the changes will have much less foreigners and much less students in total. So basically, when you cut out foreign master students (or at least a good portion of them) you are cutting out foreign PhD students by a great deal as well. That is what I was trying to point out.
18:11 July 21, 2010 by Puffin
@ gorgepir

That may be the 'unofficial practice' where you are that they recruit from the masters - but legally all PhD positions must be advertised.

Many PhD programmes recruit directly from abroad

In addition the main criticism relates to popular Bachelor programmes - as in many International Masters Programmes taught in English overseas candidates are in the majority so will continue to be the majority as the new system allocates places on the basis of application percentages - well until next year when fees are introduced for non-EU candidates
18:54 July 21, 2010 by odinmp5
my guess is that my chances of getting my masters degree in sweden diminish every year.

but if it benfits swedish people... so be it.
23:19 July 21, 2010 by lili2010
To all the readers that have criticized what is in the news. Regardless of our race, please let us be very open minded and try to look at the issue putting ourselves in the shoe of the decision makers. I am not a Swede and not defending anyone,however let us not just rush to pile critics before we really know what led the Swedish government to such a decision. Thanks.
23:29 July 21, 2010 by diablogun
I am all for the Swedes charging for admission/tuition, but it is insane to charge such a high amount to Non-EU, unless the goal is to only have only EU students in their classes.

They would have got a lot more money if they had just charged half as much as they decided. Then they would be able to subsidize Sweden's students.

In my own circumstance, I have money and can go anywhere in Europe, but not to the point of stupidity. I will not have to have in cash more than 200 thousand crowns in the bank, plus now pay 180 thousand crowns for tuition. Unless I get a scholarship, there is no way I will do that, even though I could afford it. There are way too many other options available.
03:56 July 22, 2010 by glamelixir
@ diablogun the point of charging is that we shouldn't be paying for free education with our taxes! We accept the EU students because we are in the EU and it's a part of reciprocity law, but otherwise, why should I and the rest of the residents give you a scholarship?
06:09 July 22, 2010 by diablogun

I agree, but foreign students should be used as a revenue source. At the rates being charged, almost none will come, and Swedish taxpayers will be paying full price for EU students who are completely subsidized. It is funny to see this happen, but the result is Sweden will have almost no non-EU students.

The idea is good, but the amount is insane. The weaknesses of the Swedish system should not be exposed by trying to charge similar rates as UK universities, because lodging, language, and work are much easier in the UK. I have loved Sweden my whole life, and I have the cash to go there, but I am not going to get raped in the process :-)
09:46 July 22, 2010 by LeoKinmann

From what I've seen in Uppsala, Lund and Linköping, the foreign PhD students compose the majority of all the PhD in science and engineering discipline. it's true as you said that the PhD position have to be advertised. However, a common practice I have seen is that a research group made the decision of admitting a master student beforehand. When writing the prerequisites for the open PhD position, making it so specific so it only fits their pre-selected candidate.


I talked to a lot of foreign master students. And they all told me the only incentive of coming to Sweden over UK, US or Australia is the fact you don't have to pay tuition. Living in Sweden is not cheap. Even if the foreign master students don't pay tuition, their money goes to the infrastructure when they spend on daily expenses. There is always a balance when setting the price. You charge next to nothing, you don't make much profit; you charge too much, nobody will come, so you get nothing at all.
12:26 July 22, 2010 by here for the summer
@diablogun . i think you miss the point about eu students. All Swedish citizens can go to other EU universities for free and so the same has to apply for EU students coming to Sweden. The fact that US and all other nations don't have this agreement means that they have to pay to attend Swedish universities. Lots of people complain here especially students but in the end they will see how it works ( the government ) . I am not sure about the masters programs taked about here but there is no need for a bunch of students from outside any country at the undergraduate level. Anyone at the undergraduate level who thinks they are doing any country a favor by attending university for free, grow up. Everyone at the PHD level you are not covered by this policy so quit complaining about it. The PHD work is valuable and not covered by this policy and will stay the same. PHD work is partially paid for by the teaching and research done by the pre docs and post docs.

@leo of course they pick the best candidates for PHD based upon the students ability to contribute to the relavant research not sure why they would pick someone from a local masters program vs an undergraduate or even a PHD program from somewhere else. Many universities prefer PHD students from other universities.
13:35 July 22, 2010 by LeoKinmann
@here for the summer

Ideally, yes. They should pick the best candidates for Ph.D. based upon the student's ability. However, what i stated is simply an observation. I don't really like it either cos it's a form of academic inbreeding. But that's what people do in so many Swedish universities. I guess the motivation behind is: once a master student finished his/her thesis in a particular research group, the supervisor knows the student's ability, and the student has significant knowledge of the research field. It's perhaps more convenient than training a scholar with no prior experience. The student is also inclined to stay than going somewhere else. This practice is not exclusive to Ph.D. program. It also happens to postdoc, lecturer, and professorship.
15:15 July 22, 2010 by diablogun

I know why they are doing it, but it is going to hurt them at the price level they are shooting for. The idea is to save money, but this will accomplish the opposite.

A great many Masters Programs will essentially lose almost all of their non-eu students, and the Swedish taxpayer will pay in full for their replacements. If they had set aside 30 percent of their Masters positions and charged 4000-6000 euros to foreigners per year, they would have got quite of bit of money to subsidize the free EU students. Instead, the will get maybe 2 percent foreigners to pay the high 10000-15000 euros.

On the plus side, anyone willing to pay those fees will get enrolled with low qualifications very easily.

I haven't decided if I want to pay that much, and I love Sweden more than anyone...
16:04 July 22, 2010 by heu
@here for the summer

As far as I am concerned, most universities in Europe are not free even for the europeans. So even if you give free education to EU-nationals in Sweden, Swedes will not get free education everywhere in the EU.

In my point of view, the "free education for everyone" approach is the best weapon Sweden has to compete with other countries in Europe. You may think that these foreign students are just getting free education at your expenses. But you may also think that lots of them stay in Sweden after their studies and help pay your children's education.

Besides, Sweden cannot supply enough professionals to fulfill the country's demand. And that will certainly not come from the EU since most countries face the same problem. Therefore, making it more difficult for non-EU students to come to Sweden is not a smart move. But that is just my opinion, of course. We'll see what will happen.
03:06 July 24, 2010 by kenny8076
from hat i understood on the studera website they only non EU people that have to pay are the ones here on student visa's.

You are NOT required to pay application and tuition fees if:

You have Swedish citizenship

You have been granted a permanent Swedish residency permit

You have been granted a temporary Swedish residency permit for reasons other than studies. (Having a temporary residency permit for studies in Sweden does NOT grant you exemption from fee payments)

You have citizenship in a European Union (EU) country, European Economic Area (EEA) country, or Switzerland

You are a family member of a citizen of an EU or EEA country, or Switzerland, and have the right to temporary or permanent residency in Sweden

You have long-term resident status in Sweden

You have long-term resident status in another country in the European Union and have Swedish residency

You are applying for or are registered for Third cycle (doctoral) studies. Application and tuition fees are only required for studies at the First cycle (bachelor) and Second cycle (Masters) level

You are registered at a university or university college outside of Sweden and will be studying in Sweden on a temporary basis as part of an official study abroad programme as an exchange student.

I am here on a residents permit from the US with my girlfriend, under the cohabitation rules. So does this mean i wouldn't have to pay(well i do pay with these insane taxes)?
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