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Stockholm tops Swedish student debt league

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Stockholm tops Swedish student debt league
16:56 CET+01:00
Residents of Stockholm continue to carry the highest levels of student debt in the country, according to new figures from Sweden's student lending agency, CSN.

Swedes with the highest student debts are concentration in counties which are also home to Sweden's larger cities.

Overall, Stockholm residents owe an average of 143,034 kronor per person ($21,700), compared with a national average of 128,209 kronor per person.

In contrast, residents of Jönköping County in central Sweden have the lowest student debt load, owing an average of 107,545 kronor per person.

“Debts have increased somewhat in most counties during the last year. The exception are Västmanland and Blekinge, where debt has fallen,” CSN's Lars Hillerström said in a statement.

Overall, Swedes owe the agency a total of 186 billion kronor.

According to Hillerström, the number of people who have taken out student loans has increased in recent years.

“It's due to a combination of a weak economy and the fact that the government decided to increase the number of available spots,” he said.

In addition, CSN reports that low interest rates in recent years have resulted in more people with student loans choosing to devote a larger part of their loan payments to paying down the principle.

Currently, the interest rate charged on student loans in 1.9 percent – the lowest rate ever.

“This has primarily helped people with relatively small student loans. But it's even had an effect more generally,” said Hillerström.

While Swedish universities don't charge tuition fees to Swedish citizens, many Swedish students choose to take out loans to cover living expenses while they pursue their degrees.

Aid is also available for high school students as well as those pursuing adult secondary education.

In 2009, CSN spent roughly 13.4 billion kronor in grants and 11.6 billion kronor in loans.

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