SHARE
COPY LINK

UNIVERSITY

Government to boost foreign student scholarship funding

The government has allotted an additional 20 million kronor ($2.9 million) in scholarship funding to help offset tuition fees charged to students from developing countries who want to study at Swedish universities.

Government to boost foreign student scholarship funding

“The quality of our university programmes increase when successful international students participate,” education minister Jan Björklund said in a statement.

“Scholarships is a way to attract talented students.”

Starting with the 2011-2012 academic year, students from outside of the European Union can no longer study for free at Swedish universities.

To help offset the costs for talented students as well as those from developing countries, the government also created scholarships totaling 90 million kronor.

Currently, two thirds of the funds originally set aside for scholarships are disbursed through individual universities.

The remaining 30 million kronor are managed by the Swedish Institute as part of a general scholarship fund for students from countries listed by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development as countries in need of foreign aid.

But according to the government’s new spending proposal, the general scholarship fund for students from developing countries would rise to 50 million kronor starting autumn 2012, a funding increase of 60 percent.

This year, 697 applications reached the Swedish Institute, with Bangladesh, Ethiopia and Uganda representing 465 of them. Of the 105 granted applications, only 33 were from women, according to statistics from SI.

“Through more scholarships we contribute to the increase of the capacity to face economical, political and social challenges in these countries,” Minister for International Development Cooperation, Gunilla Carlsson said in a statement.

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.

UNIVERSITY

Swedish university exam unlikely to go ahead at all this year

It is looking increasingly unlikely that 'högskoleprovet' – an exam used by thousands of students every year as a way to enter Swedish university will go ahead – despite a government U-turn.

Swedish university exam unlikely to go ahead at all this year
In a normal year, 100,000 students sit what is known as the SweSAT or 'högskoleprovet'. Photo: Malin Hoelstad/SvD/SCANPIX

The Swedish Scholastic Aptitude Test (SweSAT, or högskoleprovet) is normally held twice a year, but was cancelled in spring and then later in autumn due to the coronavirus pandemic. But after pressure from opposition parties, the government last week said it would pave the way for the test to take place on its usual date in October in a limited format, open only to people who had not previously sat it.

Usually around 100,000 people sit the exam each year, around 40 percent of them doing so for the first time. The exam is not compulsory, but many people use its results to get into university, and it is seen as a crucial second chance for those who are not able to get accepted based on grades alone.

But any hope lit by the government's announcement last week was quickly extinguished this week, when university principals said it would still not be possible to organise a coronavirus-safe sitting. In the end it is up to the exam organisers to decide whether or not to hold it, so the government holds limited sway.

“They [the university principals] do not want to take responsibility for conducting the exam during the autumn, but would rather spend time and resources on conducting two tests as safely as possible in spring,” Karin Röding, director-general of the Swedish Council for Higher Education (UHR), told the TT news agency on Tuesday.

“I have no reason to have another opinion,” she added.

“It appears to be the case that you are going to have to wait another few months before an exam can be carried out in an infection-safe way,” confirmed Sweden's Minister of Higher Education, Matilda Ernkrans.

Meanwhile the political pressure eased on the Social Democrat-Green coalition government to ensure the test could be held before the deadline for applying to the spring semester of university, when the Liberal party joined the centre-left in voting no to pushing for an autumn sitting. Last week there was a majority for a yes vote on the Swedish parliament's education committee, consisting of right-wing parties Moderates, Christian Democrats, Sweden Democrats and the Liberals, but after the latter switched sides the committee voted no.

The Mdoerates blamed the government for not acting sooner to help the exam go ahead, by for example allocating more money and investigating the possibility of using more venues.

“There is one person who is to blame. That's Matilda Ernkrans,” said the party's education spokesperson Kristina Axén Olin. “The government has handled it really poorly and now it is thought to be too late and impossible.”

Ernkrans argued that she and the government had done everything they could, including making sure that test results from previous years will be valid for eight years rather than the usual five, as well as allocating extra funding to make it possible to hold more than one exam next spring.

Swedish vocabulary

cancel – ställa in

test/exam – (ett) prov

second chance – (en) andra chans

government – (en) regering

semester – (en) termin (note the false friend – the Swedish word semester means holiday)

SHOW COMMENTS