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Fees bury Swedish unis in added work: report

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Fees bury Swedish unis in added work: report
15:10 CET+01:00
The new fees for non-European students at Swedish universities have created a workload disproportionate to the number of fee-paying students, according to a new report from the National Agency for Higher Education (Högskoleverket).

This year, Swedish universities accepted 4,600 applying students from outside of Europe for the autumn term. However, only 1,350 – or 29 percent – of these actually accepted their place at the university and paid the fees.

The agency has conducted a survey to follow up on the work carried out by the universities to implement the reform.

The answers show that the institutions have spent a lot of time on the adjustment and that many feel that the workload is disproportionate to the number of students who have paid the fees.

At the same time, many of the hiccups seem to be passing and have happened due to the haste the reform was launched, according to the agency.

In many places, the institutions have increased their support for the fee-paying students by guaranteeing them accommodation, language support and a mentor programme.

Many universities are also putting more efforts in to marketing and many are flagging for the need of a joint strategy for Sweden as a study destination, according to the agency.

When fees were introduced, Sweden created a number of state funded scholarships in order to boost recruitment of students from non-European countries.

According to the agency, about 40 percent of non-Europeans who started their studies at a Swedish university were on a full or partial scholarship.

But almost a third of those that were offered a scholarship turned it down, due to living expenses in Sweden were seen as too steep.

The survey also showed that many universities report unexpected effects of the reform. The fact that all applicants are required to pay fees, before anything else has been established, has meant a huge increase in workload for the universities.

That prices had to be fixed for all courses, even those given in Swedish, has also been seen as a arduous and unexpected task, according to the report.

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