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Tuition fees change Sweden's student population

The Local · 6 Jan 2012, 12:48

Published: 06 Jan 2012 12:48 GMT+01:00

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For many foreign students, coming to Sweden entails some adjustments.

"I'm not used to this little daylight. December has been very dark," says Eric McGivney, a US citizen and master's student at the Royal Institute of Technology (Kungliga Tekniska Högskolan, KTH) in Stockholm.

He and Brooks Patrick, another KTH student from the US, note that students in Sweden take longer breaks while studying, that library hours are shorter and guest lecturers more common than in their home country.

But student life in Sweden now has something significant in common with that of the US: tuition fees. As of the autumn semester 2011, students from outside the EEA and Switzerland are obliged to pay for higher education in Sweden.

According to the government, the fees were introduced as a means of quality assurance.

If universities began to charge students for their education, the education ministry reasoned in 2010, Sweden could compete for the most talented students, as opposed to appealing mostly to those who want free education.

One of the arguments against the introduction of tuition fees was that the diversity of Sweden's student population would suffer—in essence, that only students from the rich world would be able to afford to study in Sweden.

Sadiq Malik, a Pakistani student who enrolled at Stockholm University one year before the fees were introduced, says he would not have been able to afford paying the current tuition fees.

"My programme would cost me a total of 280,000 kronor ($40,500) and that's aside from my living expenses," he says. "Pakistan is a poor country, and the situation is getting worse day by day. I might earn that much money after a lifetime of working, but only then."

Sweden is undergoing a change in student demographics.

The number of admitted master's-level students from Pakistan and India—until now the two most common countries of origin—declined by 91 and 85 percent respectively between 2010 and 2011.

The average decrease for low-income countries was over 90 percent.

Richer countries outside the EEA have felt less of an impact.

China now has the most admitted students of all non-European countries. The number of admitted master's students from the United States declined by just over 40 percent—by comparison, a small decrease.

Eric McGivney and Brooks Patrick believe Sweden will remain an attractive study destination for US students.

"Having a Swedish degree is a good way to market yourself in the US," says Brooks Patrick.

"Social values are protected here. The Nordic countries, not just Sweden, are admired around the world for their quality of life."

"I feel like Sweden has a good reputation in the US. It's an innovative, environmentally friendly country," says Eric McGivney.

From a US perspective, an annual fee of 140,000 kronor, the amount Eric McGivney and Brooks Patrick are paying for their science education at KTH, is more likely to be seen as reasonable than extortionate.

"These tuition fees are average for a technical degree and school, says Brooks Patrick.

"People ask me why I'm paying to study. I tell them that I live on Södermalm with a rent subsidized by the university, and I have a part-time job."

The willingness to pay fees is contingent on students feeling that they're getting what they pay for. Many Swedish universities make special offers to fee-paying students, such as lower rent and a chance of part-time work.

But for most, the real worth of higher education is proven after graduation.

Foreign graduates, whose numbers have risen sharply in Sweden during the past decade, have often struggled to find gainful employment after finishing their studies.

According to Sveriges Radio, about one percent of Sweden's international graduates in 2009 stayed in the country to work after graduating.

Out of those who do stay, not everyone is able to find employment commensurate with their qualifications.

"A lot of people I know from Pakistan and other non-European countries have completed one or even two master's degrees, and are still working at fast-food restaurants," says Sadiq Malik at Stockholm University.

"What, then, is the use of that degree? If most of the non-EEA graduates at the master's level disappear after completing their degrees, what's the use of attracting them in the first place? Swedish companies don't seem to be making use of the resources that are at their disposal."

Robin Moberg, project manager at the trade union Jusek points out that the losses extend beyond the graduates themselves.

"Nobody stands to gain when a country fails to utilize the human resources at

its disposal. It is important that universities put students in touch with universities through, for instance, internships and on-campus career centres," says Robin Moberg.

Story continues below…

Politicians in Sweden have begun to address the issue.

In March 2011, a parliamentary committee proposed that recent graduates be allowed to stay in Sweden for six months after completing their studies, to apply for jobs.

At present, students may stay in Sweden only one week after graduation. The new legislation is currently being drafted.

As soon-to-be graduates from outside the EEA, Eric McGivney and Brooks Patrick are optimistic about their prospects on the Swedish job market.

"I don't speak Swedish, but I speak English really well. Hopefully companies will hire us—at least international ones," says Brooks Patrick.

Since 2008, an adjustment of Sweden's labour laws has made it easier for companies to attract foreign workers.

A recent report by the OECD concluded that Sweden has one of the "most liberal labour migration regimes" in the world—but the new laws still give preference to job applicants from the EU.

"I don't think it'll be too hard to get a job once we graduate," says Eric McGivney, exuding optimism he will want to uphold come graduation.

As fee-funded education is introduced in Sweden, many actors—universities, students and businesses, as well as the government itself—want higher education to pay off.

Sven Hultberg Carlsson

The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

15:51 January 6, 2012 by swedejane
"Having a Swedish degree is a good way to market yourself in the US," says Brooks Patrick.

Someone has gotten drunk on the swedish kool-aid! Most people in the US think Sweden is the capital of Switzerland...a degree from a school no one has ever heard of (because, let's face it, 99.9% of hiring managers in the US have never heard of any swedish university) will propel you to the top of the resume stack? Against the people from schools in the US they have heard of? Right...

"I don't think it'll be too hard to get a job once we graduate," says Eric McGivney, exuding optimism he will want to uphold come graduation.

Please, can we interview him in a year?
16:16 January 6, 2012 by SOBHIT
Few months b4 few students from India had contacted me asking about the education. The had got the admission but since the education fee is so high they were in dilemma whether to come or not. What reply I gave to all of them was "Better not to come here. If u have that much money to pay, better you go Australia, US or UK to study with that money, because atleast there is a possibility for you to get a job. If you come here you will spend all the money then eventually you may have to go back to India for getting a job, which u may have to work life long time to make the money that u spent here". All of them dropped the plan of coming here. The Swedish companies really dont know how to utilize the human resources in their country, The are not even getting ready to value one person's capability in the technical field, which is important foe the organization. "If you know Swedish welcome, if no get lost". This is the principle. They missed a lot of talented students in just believing and following in this principle. If they change this principle, again students will come here to study as they have an expectation to get a job with which they can get back all the money that spent for the education. "Everywhere these days poor are getting poorer and rich are getting richer". This new rule implemented is indeed a example of the above. Students who are coming from the poor countries pay the fees to a country which is one of the most richest in the world, and students leave this country with their all money spent here but get nothing from here.
16:40 January 6, 2012 by akhokhay

Yes I totally agree. In Sweden, while you pay a high tuition fee, you have to learn Swedish in 2 years while you study and if you are lucky enough to find a part time job(Mostly distributing reklam), you can have your living expense back.

And those are beside the racist problem when you walk or want to get a job or etc.

Nah Sweden not worth that much money.

Who said Sweden has one the best universities? they are good I don't want to deny that but US got far more better universities in both quantity and quality, I.e. best university in Sweden rank is Gothenburg University, rank 120 in world (webometircs.info) or Uppsala Uni. rank 83 in world (top universities)

Before that came the universities from US and UK, again I should say NAH Sweden not worth THAT much tuition fee.
17:06 January 6, 2012 by chad9am
As an american with an advanced science degree, I can tell you that the comments by the american scientist are bunk First graduate science education is free in the USA unless you are an incredibly poor student so paying to get an MS is ridiculous.

2nd as a manager who has hired in the USA and in Sweden, I would not bring a MS student in for an interview from overseas. It is hard to justify the expense for the interview much less the relocation. If the candidate appears good on paper and I know the school to be good (a very limited number in Europe due more to my ignorance than anything), I would consider interviewing the individual if they were local.
18:24 January 6, 2012 by godnatt
I'm all for charging tuition, but it went from free to exorbitantly expensive.

They are charging practically what top US private schools are charging out of the blue.

Some transition equivalent to US state or even community college level tuitions would have made more sense to start and not driven off every foreign student who can't possibly afford this.
18:55 January 6, 2012 by Summer Dreams
wow! imagine? ""I don't speak Swedish, but I speak English really well. Hopefully companies will hire us-at least international ones," says Brooks Patrick. well said with stupidity. hopefully will not give you a chance on the resume stack and please interview that moron after graduation, hopefully he has a return ticket.
19:17 January 6, 2012 by adnans
@ Summer Dreams... what u state here is true to some context ! though its really tough to get a job here but i wish him good luck .
19:43 January 6, 2012 by Summer Dreams
if your Cv is very good with superb qualifications and very good experience outside sweden as long as you dont speak or write swedish your Cv will be abandoned for the lower level applicant who cant even write a CV well. why? because they dont hire people who cant speak the language and yet they claim they are diverse and bla bla bla.

SFI for me does no good if you hold a degree as a professional because you will need to take more time to learn to write and communicate with the language on an advanced level to get a professional job like a banker.

so why in the world will i spend so much money to school in sweden? only to graduate and go back to elementary school called SFI.

and anyway why do they teach their MSC courses in english anyway? why not in swedish? anyone ever care to think why? ehh? why?
23:36 January 6, 2012 by muscle
hmm I think apart from the bad affects of this tution fee, i think there are SOME good affects aswell. One being that the companies will be forced to change their hiring procedure. With lack of resources, I am sure, the companies will be forced to change their ways. The consultant companies, had the chance to bring a change. but NO they only made it worst. Now you are not even sure, how many jobs exist when these consultant companies keep on advertising while the actual job may be just one!
10:33 January 7, 2012 by Nilspet
@ Summer Dreams...You raised a very good point about MSc in English. And the truth is most Swedes in the MSc programs (Englishs) are no better than international students who will never get a job in Sweden due to whatever (discrimination? .... )

@SwedeJane .. Yes The Local should interview the dude in a year and a half.
13:01 January 7, 2012 by xenu
"I don't speak Swedish, but I speak English really well. Hopefully companies will hire us-at least international ones," says Brooks Patrick

She is in for a big surprise!!!
14:47 January 7, 2012 by Sting

I am an international student who is about to graduate. I do not regret spending my savings on the education here; Sweden is a wonderful country with tolerant people, albeit the education itself is mediocre. I can always find better paying jobs in Middle East, but only because I come from there and have plenty of contacts, so I understand the frustration of other non-EU students.

Its terrible that Sweden has lost so many talented minds. The irony is the brain drainage got brain drained in Sweden. Companies need smart minds. The economy needs it. However, working in competitive organizations, I totally understand why Swedish speakers are preferred.


Swedish government and businesses need to create a program to solve this problem. At each year end, the top 10% (or whatever % suffices the market need for manpower for each field of study) students are hired but paid a smaller salary for the first 4-6 months. In this period, the student must obtain C2 level in Swedish, else the contract is cancelled. If the student does learn the language in this period, he joins the company as a talented Swedish speaker.

This way, students would compete to be among the top students (thus improving the quality of education) and Sweden won't suffer from brain drain. Additionally, the businesses won't need to worry about adapting to new non-Swedish speakers and can continue working as usual.

Who sees a flaw in such a program? Lets hope some decisions makers read this!
16:47 January 7, 2012 by muscle

Your solution is good, but still there is loss for the companies. The best option is to grant the students one year visa, after completion of their studies, for searching job and learning swedish.

At one hand the govt expects the student to complete his education in the expected time period. On the other hand the govt expects the student to learn swedish, find job in the same time period. It is a contradicting policy. This forces the students to leave aside their education and just search for job!

The govt started this policy that they would grant 6 month working visa. Well turns out, the 6 month working visa is from the same time duration as of the studies visa! So how the hell does the govt expect the student to complete his studies, learn swedish, find job! Its highly contradicting policy!

Just give the students 1 year job visa, after the completion of their studies. They can try the job search somewhere else. But this will also help them complete their studies in time.

This will be a win win situation for the students as well as for the companies. And PLEASE, stop these consulting companies, they simply ruin the job market. They have no proper HR processes and simply give an incorrect picture to the job seekers!

Fee or no fee... issue is after you graduate what are the job prospects here in sweden!
17:38 January 7, 2012 by emmjay
Most importantly as master students you don't even get priority in the university swedish courses...you have to rely on SFI and they have restricted it too now. So they don't want to give you jobs...they don't want you to learn their language or integrate into society...or help in finding housing then why should anyone come all the way to get such a low level of education and pay tonnes of money. I slept through my masters here so easy. But I still love Sweden for the crazy country it pretends not to be.

I would also suggest south asians to aim higher than restaurant jobs and impress people with their abilities rather than complain behind forums.

P.s I'm south asian.
18:10 January 7, 2012 by MSPhd

It is not right attitude towards sweden, Like in every country sweden is also having politics in their country. They take there decisions as per their country and people interest. The changes are completely in interest of people in sweden.

It is true that INDIA cant reach expenses, but it is happening all across the world. It is our solo decision to come here, if not interest let u r sister or bro know that swede n is so on so etc things.

19:58 January 7, 2012 by Chuck_Norris
I am an European Student in Sweden, facts:

1. No fluent Swedish = No Jobs apart from distributing newspapers.

2. Don't be surprised to find institutionalised racism in certain parts of daily life in University. Having a name more similar to a Swedish sounding name will remove many barriers. If you have a spanish, italian, english, greek or something of the kind, welcome to the club and enjoy the extra barriers you will have!
21:49 January 7, 2012 by Dimukas
The level of education here is mediocre. We tired of complaining and writing a complain letter to the course director. They only smiling and promising to improve but never do something. They even do not able to make a schedule - unbelievable. This is Lund university!
22:44 January 7, 2012 by Sting

Even when there were no tuition fees, students spend quite a bit on living and accommodation. Economically speaking, this means foreign currency coming to Sweden and more activity in industries like real estate,gov food, retail and so on. I doubt a student would stay on for another year searching for a job and learning Swedish. This means spending more money without any guarantees.

No one likes uncertainty. Each year, the government should coordinate with the industry and they should set a number of skilled workers they need, per specialization like IT, Software, Electric Engineering and so on. They should announce the top tier students would be selected to fill these positions. Students will complete and this will dramatically improve the level of educations.

Companies need skilled workers and human resources build vibrant economies. I think in its current state, students will never come to Sweden for studies and the government need to reconsider the tuition fees and replace it with a program that addresses the main issues; i.e. improve study quality and utilization of the best graduates.
22:55 January 7, 2012 by Freelife
I do agree with "MSPhd". It is upto Swedish government( in turn people ) to decide any policy of their land. I don't request/wish the Swedish govt. to bring back the free education to Indians.


1. We Indians must not think that everything in Europe or US or Australia is better.

2. When it was free, studying in Sweden ( along with spending a lot of money on living expense and bearing the climate and some 'rude' people. ) was alright.

3. When I studied at KTH, even after I repeatedly applied to study Swedish, I never got a place in a class. But the seats were reserved for exchange students who stayed only for a semester (6months) in Sweden. At SFI the teachers were not Swedish and they had middle-eastern accent ( sorry.. I am not discriminating.. but I don't want to learn Swedish in an middle eastern accent ).

4. Indian govt. is thinking to allow the University of US, UK etc to open their branches in India. Also a number of Indian universities do offer master/phd courses in varieties of subjects ; of-course with lesser-quality facilities, hectic timetable, but affordable tuition fee and considerate lectures. Living expense in India is 10-15 times lesser; especially food and accommodation.!

5. In India, the job market is very good, especially in the software, medicine and automobile domains.

I and a lot us who got the free education are thankful to Sweden. Sweden is not obliged to provide free education to everyone in the world. It is Sweden's greatness that it provided free education to millions of poor students until 2010. One can hardly find a few countries which have done so.!!!
23:04 January 7, 2012 by Sting
Just to clarify, some facts:

-Richer countries in Middle East, like UAE, Oman, Kuwait, Qatar and so on, have programs to send students for higher studies in UK, US, Australia and Canada. Even New Zealand is preferred over Europeans countries.

-English speaking countries have societies representing different countries, so the social life for different groups is far better than Europe

-The quality of education is generally better, or that is the perception at least

-Students from richer countries always have better opportunities back home

-Only students from highly populated (and thus poorer) countries like India, Bangladesh, Pakistan and even China would consider moving to Sweden and going through the trouble of learning a language spoken only in Scandinavia.

The Swedish industry and government seems out of touch. That is what the new tuition fee shows. Sweden needs to decide whether it needs skilled workers to sustain its economy or not. If not, then the new law makes sense as it keeps away students who intend to stay in Sweden after studies. If it does need talented students for its economy, then they are naive to believe that paying students will move to Sweden, learn the language and find work here.

Of course, I am not considering ethics, human rights, politics and all that here. Who knows, maybe Sweden is going through a population growth and the economy isn't growing fast enough. The question in this case is, does it make sense keep out post-graduate students who graduate from Swedish universities and are motivated to learn Swedish and contribute to the industry, and let in political asylum seekers and similar immigrants?
23:13 January 7, 2012 by kenny8076
"Having a Swedish degree is a good way to market yourself in the US," says Brooks Patrick. ............... HUH? And hows that? thats like saying "Having a Canadian degree is a good way to market yourself in Finland"....uuummm really?

this seems like an Advertisement to all Americans on this site in a desperate move to get international students back...... most University's here have Community college standards and resources..... and our community colleges cost on average $3000 a year. I have said it since i have lived here, swedes are very suspect on business, they rely on taxes and it takes away from their ability to know how to do business well........ example... they have a day much like our Black Friday in the states..... except instead of having it BEFORE Christmas they have it a couple day AFTER.... because god forbid they gave people sells for Christmas presents..... absolutely blows my mind. i didn't buy a single thing on that day because i bought everything..... wait for it... BEFORE Christmas as gifts.....
03:40 January 8, 2012 by ffa11

Could you post some specific barriers you know immigrants are facing?
09:08 January 8, 2012 by BBKING
I wonder why you did not mention a hint about scholarships for exceptionally talented students from Least developed nations?

Your negligence is a reflection of the governments's position on scholarship schemes. Naturally, there should have been more scholarship opportunities now and yet the new scholarship programs offer lesser places than before. Is Sweden fade up with students from non afford countries?
15:51 January 8, 2012 by uunbeliever
I am not fluent in Swedish, just Swedish B (done in one year, not really that tough) and I have never had any problems finding a job. I am halfway through my teaching degree in Linköping and learning how to teach English as a second language has opened up opportunities for me in many countries. Quit whining about racism, maybe you are just not suitable for the job. I don't pay tuition because I am an EU member but the number of people who take advantage of the system is staggering. "Hey, I'll get a free PhD in Sweden and use my skills somewhere else." If you use your skin colour or non-Swedish name as an excuse that you are unemployed, you are obviously not marketing yourself or your skills properly.
15:59 January 8, 2012 by LeoKinmann

Can you please state the purpose of your question? Did you ask simply out of curiosity? If you don't live in Sweden then you haven't experienced certain things first-hand.
17:06 January 8, 2012 by Chuck_Norris

To use my name and for being European but not Swedish as an excuse is not something I do. I am only showing my difficulties here on the internet anonymously.

I am studying and have a partner here but do not intend to stay here more than the necessary.

People are very friendly when you know them but there is deep institutionalised racism in parts of different institutions which makes integrating and creating a good image on Sweden very tough.

It seems you easily brush off colour/name issue very easily, I may safely assume you are white like me but name wise you have a Nordic or Germanic kind of name
03:04 January 9, 2012 by Smiling Canuk
A CDN friend of mine did his master's in Sweden years ago, but he was of Swedish ancestory (although didn't speak the language) and that was when tuition was free. The free tuition was somewhat of an equalizer, but now thats gone so it makes little sense for most foreign students to chose Sweden over an English speaking country..
03:44 January 9, 2012 by pacianphoto
The Swedish Government lacks the political will to change the situation for students and immigrants.

I'm a permanent residence in Sweden and I can tell you, if I had to pay to attend a University in Sweden, I would relocate back to the US. The education experience, quality and competition that defines most tier-one universities in the US DOES NOT exist in Sweden. You will never realize your investment for both attending and living in Sweden. Unfortunately you can not eat life experiences.

The best PR machine in the world has the Swedish Government as its client.

Someone mention utopia, I laugh at that, conformity,blonde hair blue eye and white skin is your ticket in this country and if you know the Swedish language then you're golden.
07:38 January 9, 2012 by eam000

I'm eric, from the article. I'm glad this is getting so many comments. I'm blogging for KTH, if anyone is interested you guys can leave comments/tell me how bad of a decision I made/ask any questions/find me jobs/whatever. I don't know how long this article will be up so...

09:10 January 9, 2012 by Liefje
I have done my MSc in Chalmers, 11 years ago, never applied for job back then in Sweden, even i have got offered 2 of them, right after graduation. Instead of that i took a job in Holland.

After being accepted to study ( it was February 1999), i was informed of the obligatory FREE Swedish language course in Folksuniversitet for 2 weeks, superintensive. I guess if the initiative woudl have been supported during the whole 2 year program, having obligatory 2 Swedish classes per week at Uni, most of foreighn students woud have mastered the language.

Now i am working in Sweden, and since I am form the EU, I am nto seen a an immigratn, thus not eligbile for Swedish classes with the SFI, And even if I were, they re no clases after work hours. So I am left to strugle with it on my own, one hour per week at FU
11:50 January 9, 2012 by witsltd
I just want to disagree with most of those who commented here. At the same time I dont want to offend anyone as I am clearly aware of job related difficulties in Sweden and pretty much anywhere else nowadays.

I also studied at KTH and started working after 1.5 years of being in Sweden. Managed to climb up within the organization and have nothing to complaint about. Within short time, ie couple of years, managed to buy apartment, car and other related material items considered to be necessary for good living. All by Swedish earned money. And I am not from any EU country.

I dont think you get to this without hardwork, seeking opportunities and taking them. Opportunities are definitely there. I have seen many that have succeeded and many are still searching. A striking difference is in the attitude and approach.

Ill give you an example. If you want to succeed in a Swedish interview, do not watch youtube videos describing how to succeed in interviews. You can not apply same techniques in UK and Sweden. This is just one example, but very few understand this and other subtle differences.

If want to succeed in Sweden, you have to adapt and change. Opportunities are ample, its all about attitude and proper approach!
12:49 January 9, 2012 by ionut
Life is like hair in your buutt, short and full of shiet
14:10 January 9, 2012 by StockholmSam

You nailed it!

I was most shocked at how high they decided to set the fees for Swedens unis. It is CRAZY! The amount of money non-EU students have to pay for mediocre Swedish schools is equivalent to the best universities elsewhere...universities that are FAR SUPERIOR to any Swedish uni. Not only that, but these price levels in US colleges often include living accommodation (dormitories) on the university campuses so you really get your money's worth. In Sweden, you pay the high price and then they tell you, "good luck finding an apartment!" They really botched this initiative.
16:50 January 9, 2012 by ghaziusman
99% Pakistani students who got their Masters degrees (one or two, three if you include degree from home country) after completing their education migrates to Denmark who gives the 3 year visa without having any job, they say expend your money hare, pay us sales tax even when your are not working, learn our language and we'll get a free of cost Masters or PHD degree holder,..

Swedish Taxpayers paid for their education and after completion. Migrationsverket kick them out and Denmark gets Masters and Phd without paying any single penny.

Migrationsverket for the Win..
02:24 January 10, 2012 by SecondGen

Not sure what your smoking, but as an adult in the U.S.A. with a BS/CS I went back to school for a MS/CS and it's not free.

Certainly if you are poor you can apply for government aid, but I'm working in IT and not poor. Sure, I could quite my job and work for the university and get free tuition, but then I'd be really poor and that's not desirable either.

Luckily, at a state university, it's not all that expensive. Costs me about 25000sek (using current exchange rate) per class per semester which isn't bad. I took 2 to 3 classes per semester and finished up my course work last month. Now I'm onto my thesis. Nothing is free here, and I'm surprised it was free in Sweden!
09:23 January 10, 2012 by StockholmSam

25000kr per class?? Each class costs $3600...really? At a state uni? That is crazy money! I remember seeing classes for less than $400 per credit hour ($1200 per 3-credit course) at decent state unis.
11:57 January 10, 2012 by Dr3ad
The idea behind charging non-EU students is understandable. Why swedes taxpayers have to pay education for non-EU students?

But, is it the only reason for this cut? What are the other consequences?

In a neoliberal government, like the one in Sweden now, there is one interest behind every move, which is to make the State smaller and let the private sector take over the public services.

It seems very plausible for the taxpayer to hear that the government is doing everything they can to lower the tax for the swedish citizens. Beautiful.

The government starts to cut from the weakest part, which is to cut any expenditure on non swedish citizens, so nobody will complain.

Cut free education for non-EU students. Nobody in Sweden cares.


In 2012 there are 14500 less non-EU students. Great!

The government is going to cut the budged for the non-EU students from all educational area. Save money.

The universities now have to cut classes, courses and fire teachers, because there is not enough students. Oops!

The universities are now with over capacity, too much structure and few students.

The universities have less money, too much professors, too little students.

The teachers become less motivated, and the classes are losing the original quality.

The educational system doesn't have quality like before.

Let's privatize it, says the government. It is for the best.

Swedish citizens look at the low quality education they have and believe that privatizing education is the best.

Then, education is just a matter of profit.

If the student is not profitable, it is not interesting for the educational system.

To educate not to become a better citizen,

Educate to take your money.
12:33 January 10, 2012 by StockholmSam

Attracting foreign students to Sweden is highly desirable. They bring their culture, experiences and (most importantly) ideas to classrooms that otherwise might only get exposure to inputs from Småland or Umeå. It creates a better learning environment and a better student. Some of those students will remain in Sweden, but even if the majority leave Sweden they will take with them Swedish culture and ideas (hint: women's rights, democracy, environmental sensitivity, the benefits of high taxation with low corruption) and become ambassadors for Sweden.

I don't mind charging non-EU students for uni in Sweden. But charge a fair price. The price levels they have set are top high to provide adequate returns on the investment. The price has become a disincentive for foreign students as they can get a better education at a lower price elsewhere.

The reason this is still an issue for debate is because people realize how important it is for Sweden to have foreign students. If it were not important, this would not even be a topic of discussion. Before they jacked up the prices, the problem was not attracting foreign students, it was getting those foreign students to stay in Sweden after graduation. That was the problem they should have solved, but instead they made a mess of it by simply eliminating the foreign students. Sort of like cutting off your nose to spite your face.
11:05 January 11, 2012 by stupr
Well, firstly to those who point out that there are no jobs if you don't speak fluent Swedish: wrong. I came to Sweden without even being able to say "ja ja" and I got a job working with HR (my profession) for an English speaking organisation, after 3.5 years I am soon changing to another organisation that also has English as their working language. Obviously this is not the case for everyone and I realise that I got lucky in that respect, however quite right. I knew fine well that it would be a struggle without knowing the language and I think anyone who comes here expecting an easy ride just cos they know English is naive. If anyone rocked up to the UK without speaking English I would say the same thing to them.

Secondly, yes Sweden is not utilizing its human resources effectively and losing talented graduates however in order for this to change there would also need to be a change in the demand for such labour. I see certain jobs being advertised that, in my opinion, do not need fluent Swedish however they ask for it anyway - that should be changed to allow more talented graduates to apply. BUT at the same time for most jobs you will still need to speak Swedish. I am almost fluent after 3.5 years and I work full time, more than full time to be honest, so anyone coming to Sweden to study for a similar amount of time could easily become at least semi-fluent by the end of their degree which would dramatically increase their chances of getting a job after Uni.

I really dislike the "Sweden is so racist" banter; so too is the rest of the world but there are a lot of places far worse than Sweden and yet have a much lower standard of living. Too many people confuse their own problems for others and are quick to use the racist card when things don't go their way. However, before the negative comments flow I am fully aware that it happens and I am not saying that is right, just that the issue gets taken completely out of context too many times.
18:43 January 11, 2012 by Summer Dreams
your profession is too low to be affected significantly.
11:29 January 12, 2012 by stupr
@ summer dreams.

I disagree entirely. However, even if that were the case the point is still valid.
11:39 January 12, 2012 by uunbeliever

Yes I happen to be of white European descent. But my point is that many use skin colour as an excuse for not getting a job. If one is uneducated and useless their skin colour doesn't matter.

So you are just staying for the free stuff? You are exactly the problem my friend. You can not take advantage of a free education system with fantastic social benefits, then leave and not keep the ball rolling, so to speak. The system requires YOU to pay back into the system with taxes etc. to make the benefits YOU benefited from available to the next in line.

I am not from here but I understand the frustration Swedes fell for people like you.
18:06 January 13, 2012 by Navras
Swedish education system is surely good up to international standard but the country offers minimal in terms of jobs,career growth.There is no transparency in the job,hiring process.There is no credibility.

1.90 % of all jobs needs one to be proficient in swedish.

2.If criteria 1 is relaxed ,then you will have 1% of random chance probability to make it to interview round.

(Welcome to Reference System of Sweden. )

- > Sweden still works on reference, approach system.If you know a friend or senior in company ,you can make it to interview.

-> Resume are never searched .No one even care a damn about you resume.

3.What surprises you the most is the bunch of recent graduates who have got job in ericsson ;some of them as incompetent even to solve a basic programming puzzle.

I happened to meet a below mediocre indian guy who could not even manage to get a job in india;but could make it big in ericsson:)
18:16 January 13, 2012 by StockholmSam

That sounds like a problem with the teacher or with the classroom situation to me. I studied various degrees at several universities and colleges and in every single class, the students were required to contribute their perspectives during topic discussions. The classes were nearly always lively and interesting, as I remember, and that is from three different completed programs at the bachelor and masters levels. I never once attended a class held in a lecture hall with hundreds of students where interaction with the teacher and with each other was minimal. And I never felt drawn to that style of educating. I always sought the smaller class structure programs that not only gave the opportunity for student input but demanded it. The students you describe would never have made in in that type of system; they would have flunked out quickly.
18:18 January 13, 2012 by Chuck_Norris

You are right about chinese, the do not mix, they do are not social beings, even when one shares living space with them.
19:12 January 13, 2012 by jos007
....(The number of admitted master's-level students from Pakistan and India-until now the two most common countries of origin-declined by 91 and 85 percent respectively between 2010 and 2011. )

Thank God...

Now lot of part time jobs will be available to less educated swedes like newspaper distribution and restaurant cleaning etc...
22:35 January 13, 2012 by scrawler
"Eric McGivney and Brooks Patrick believe Sweden will remain an attractive study destination for US students"

I bet after one year definitely your blog is nowhere at Kth site and then you will realize they are using you to marketing (fooling people) university and I bet you got the free camera from univ for your blog. Just have fun and go back that is the situation prevailing here at univ .. !!

-- Dude, wake up you need a wand to get a job at Sweden. US students studying engineering at Sweden it's not so fruitful to do. US is the land of innovation major of the companies are acquired by US companies.

If they know you're a native English speaker then you will have some hard time talking with them because Swedish really hesitate to speak in English.

Now you guys have to realize everybody is marketing you by saying even US (sane) students studying here that to technical studies. You will deserve what you need.

Initially everything looks so nice after the introduction of fees (I'm not against the fees , you have to sell the apple what it worth for but not insane price ).

Universities are nowadays like pimp student who pay fee will get part time jobs and no need to write exam and will get the grades and get the degree easily...



NOW YOUR BRIBING STUDENTS, we will give jobs and soon or later may be girls!

08:21 January 14, 2012 by skatty
According to the article by tuition, the average of student from low-income countries decreases by 90%. The master student from US declined by 40%.

Let say almost nobody apply from the low-income countries, and there is a half decline from richer countries after tuition.

My conclusion is that students from low-income countries prefer to study some other western countries if they should pay tuition, because they don't believe that Swedish University degrees and job market worth the price of investment (the payment to study in Sweden). And, at least almost half of students from richer countries have the same opinion of the low-income countries, but the other half probably live in a kind of dream, or are not well informed about Sweden, or they simply don't know that there are many other ways to waste money!
10:42 January 14, 2012 by cryogenics
Well, I'm a foreigner too, but with a permanent VISA so I'm excluded to the new tuition fees. Looking at the bright side in all of this, it's gonna be easier for us to get student apartments. Here in Uppsala is a serious housing crisis, especially for students. So with the bulk of foreign students gone, the housing market can breathe a little easier, and when I start uni this fall, I have better chances in getting accommodation.
23:42 January 15, 2012 by ccb
After reading through all the comments here I can agree with many of the genral sentiments. Erik and Brooks need not be fooled. I too was a student of KTH and I have to admit that if I were to have to pay the fees they are paying now I would have been very annoyed, since the quality of education is not up to the level of those fees in my opinion and in the opinion of many I have been in contact with. Fees are great, but they should make sense. Why would you buy a coca cola for 100kr?

As one of the students who was able to net a job here in Sweden I cannot agree with those who go on about hard work and dedication. Of course that has a lot to do with it, but the fact of the matter is that the system is quite biased towards citizens of Sweden and mainly towards ethnic Swedes. I know many persons born here of foreign parents or living here for most of their lives that are marginalised by the system. Plus I have empirical proof of this by my own activities by sending similar requests from one email address with a non-Swedish name and one from a made up account with a Swedish name and observing the rate of response. All that said, a job is possible if you are lucky enough and your skills are rare enough that the company has no choice.

One point that Summer Dream brought up and I think is very important is to the reason why courses are in English and why it is so difficult to get in a good quality Swedish class. I will not comment on my views of this matter. However, I implore new students to find a way to come to Sweden at least 2 months before courses start and do intensive Swedish courses. I know this is very hard due to the slow work of Migrationsverket, but those who can enter Sweden without a visa, US, Canada, Australia etc., it is quite plausible for you. If you get a head start then you will be able to enroll in the more advance level language courses within the university without having to compete with too many exchange students which are currently prioritised. This way you can learn Swedish throughout your study programme and try in the last semester of the programme to do one or two courses that are taught in Swedish (if possible) to seal your competence. This will give you a much better chance of landing a job though, of course, it will still be very difficult. This advice is of course if Sweden is an attractive place for you to live and work. Otherwise, skip what I have said since Swedish is an essentially useless language outside of Sweden.
22:38 January 31, 2012 by Fredio
Definitely not for attracting the 'best students', that is a very wrong and myopic defence for charging fees!

We all knows that such a hike in fee, is what the US, UK, Canada has been using for years to drain the resources of the poor countries! It is never about getting the best students (Who mostly are actually poor), but to attract those with the cash often stolen from the public fund in those poor countries!

Go to UK, and check the so-called students there, they are childen of known wicked criminals that loot all the public fund (Especially from Africa) and send their children there to study, because the money to finance the schools, are used in sending their own kids abroad.

It is really sad that Sweden will copy those people, but again, it is another danger, of looking up to others with no good moral, or regard to others.

Please, if it will be possible to reverse that decision, do it at least if the real goal is to get the best students, then they are the poor students who knows they have only that chance to make a better life, the rich ones could not care much, because the money is already there for them to enjoy...
18:56 February 24, 2012 by tutorssweden
Studying in sweden is apparently a behavior of consuming, never a reasonable investment.

You won't get your money back after half of your life, most probably, if you are from a poor country such as China or India.

Poor quality of education, lack of job opportunities, lack of sunlight will drive you crazy!
08:14 March 26, 2012 by elizabethdy
Education is what everyone's needed. University students are dealing with growing tuition fees and the price of having to always have health insurance now. On top of that, rates of interest on loans will be going up unless Congress does something about this making it more difficult to get through school. Students who need some additional cash now and then so they do not starve might want to consider taking out payday loans no faxing. Get more data at: Payday Loans No Faxing
08:07 October 6, 2012 by boomhauer
I am not sure the truth behind this article. But the student from the US and anyone who believes people with a swedish degree in the us or canada will be at an advantage are wrong. Your resume will go to the bottom of the pile because the manager willl be unfamiliar with your degree.

Lets be honest here, no one is ever going to see even the top private schools in Scandinavia on the same level of even lower tier US schools. Sure Boston College charges as much as Harvard, but that isn't going to make it Harvard, and non-mass people haven't heard of B.C. anyways.

Do these politicians think that someone is going to shell out €20k to some unheard of swdeish school when you won't be able to learn swedish and just have a mountain of debt? The average middle class american could not afford to send there kid to a school for 20k euro without gov't loans. And foreigners are not even eligible for them. It is a silly move. You will at best attract the richest students whose parents can afford to pay 60k + another 30k in living expenses.

Sad really, because a foreigner who comes to get a masters or a bachelor must learn swedish, which is already a major challenge, come up with roughly 100k without any swedish loans, then hoped to get hired with their likely broken swedish. And if they return home they have an unknown degree and same problems findingg a job.

So if I am going to get 100k in debt, why leave my country? and why go to sweden over better known countries/universities like HEC, Oxford, Cambridge, etc who cost the same?
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