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Non-EU students drop Swedish unis as fees bite

23 May 2012, 17:04

Published: 23 May 2012 14:26 GMT+02:00
Updated: 23 May 2012 17:04 GMT+02:00

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An analysis of Swedish university admissions statistics by the Swedish National Agency for Higher Education (Högskolverket) found that the total number of new foreign student enrollments dropped by a third between 2010 and 2011.

The drop in foreign student enrollment from 22,100 to 14 700, which has been documented previously, corresponds with the introduction of tuition fees for the autumn 2011 term for students from outside the EU/EES.

Much of the decline, however, consisted of "freemovers" – students who choose to come to Sweden on their own accord, rather than as part of an organized exchange programme – from non-European countries.

"Nearly the entire drop can be attributed to fewer freemovers choosing to study in Sweden," the agency's Torbjörn Lindqvist told The Local.

"China accounts for the largest drop in terms of the number of students enrolling, but in terms of percentages, some countries have seen their enrollments almost disappear completely."

Overall, the analysis found a 79 percent decline in the number of non-European students following the introduction of tuition fees.

While there were 1,827 new students from China for the fall term of 2010, the figure had dropped to 820 for the 2011 fall term.

But the 55 percent drop in new students from China is a relatively minor reduction compared to the more than 90 percent decline in new enrollments from Pakistan and Bangladesh.

And enrollment of new students from Iran, India, and Thailand also dropped by more than 80 percent.

"The drop is somewhat less pronounced for China because there are a number of organized exchanged programmes there," said Lindqvist.

He explained that officials had expected foreign student enrollment to decline in the wake of the introduction of tuition fees.

"In some ways, that was the point; not the reduction in itself, but as education minister Jan Björklund has explained, the fees are meant to focus on quality as the main attraction of studying in Sweden, rather than it being free," he said.

While all subject areas popular with foreign students included in the analysis experienced a drop in enrollment between 2010 and 2011, the largest reduction took place within the natural sciences (48 percent) and engineering programmes.

A total of 1,155 newly enrolled students, or 8 percent, paid tuition fees for the autumn 2011 term, according to the agency, with the highest number of paying students – 190 – enrolling at Lund University in southern Sweden.

Lund also experienced the smallest overall decline in foreign students following the introduction of tuition fees, will enrollment dropping by only 18 percent.

The University of Gävle, however, saw its foreign student enrollment plummet by 70 percent, while the Blekinge Institute of Technology had 63 percent fewer foreign students enroll in 2011 compared to 2010.

On average, foreign student enrollment was down by 33 percent across all Swedish universities.

"The drop is going to affect different schools in different ways," said Linqvist.

"Those with a large drop will likely have to make adjustments and in some cases that may mean cutting back certain programmes."

Despite the drop, Lindqvist added that foreign students still accounted for 21 percent of new enrollments at Swedish universities in 2011.

Story continues below…

"Of course, more of them now come from other European countries as students from within the EU can't be charged tuition fees in Sweden, which is one of the consequences of the change," he said

It remains to be seen, however, whether current trends will continue.

"Being free was certainly a competitive advantage for Sweden," said Lindqvist.

"But higher education in Sweden has a pretty good reputation internationally."

David Landes

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Your comments about this article

15:56 May 23, 2012 by bourgeoisieboheme
Well I think other immigration made up for this shortfall so I would guess that it's a zero sum gain as far as public expenses are concerned. As for the talent that is brought in, I think Sweden is on the losing end. Better to bring in people who are here for education and entice them to stay rather than bring in asylum seekers who can't work and have no skills or the language requirement. I'm just an immigrant with a Masters degree though so what do I know ;-)
16:08 May 23, 2012 by shark laser
LOL .. " ... the fees are meant to focus on quality as the main attraction of studying in Sweden, rather than it being free." Sweden's education is already good and many students come here solely for that. BUT, being an Indian student myself, this is how I see it: Swedish unis are good but nowhere close to those in the US or Germany. In spite of being academically talented, I'm forced to pay as well, so I would rather go to US than come here ! I get degree from better univsersities for the same price. First, Swedish unis must REACH the level of MIT or Stanford, THEN I'll pay whatever u ask. Being mid-level unis and charging such hefty fees, I won't choose Sweden anymore. Anyways opportunities are better outside Sweden.
16:10 May 23, 2012 by Localer
Good move by Sweden, hate those fake students
16:29 May 23, 2012 by Freelife
An easy solution ...

If Sweden needs non-Eu students :

1. Organize exams like TOEFL or GRE.

2. Rank the aspirant

3. Provide financial support to good students.
16:51 May 23, 2012 by Scepticion
Totally agree with you shark laser.

@Localer, most of these students were not fake.
16:52 May 23, 2012 by biogeek
"...minister Jan Björklund has explained, the fees are meant to focus on quality as the main attraction of studying in Sweden, rather than it being free,"

Unfortunately Jan Björklund fails to recognize there is no direct correlation between ability to pay and quality of student. To suggest testing and ranking is in order to provide financial support shows a lack of cultural awareness. Sweden, however, has been picking up speed in its "Americanization." Maybe, now it is publicly acceptable to flaunt one's status over other lesser human beings, how unfortunate.
18:43 May 23, 2012 by bjorkon
@freelife - you make a sound practical suggestion. One day there may be testing and ranking in the Swedish system, but for now unfortunately still "mediocrity rules" in the name of equality and fairness. Far better it seems here to take a number and get on the waiting list.
18:47 May 23, 2012 by B Slick
Sweden has followed non EU countries in having fees to attend school. Try and attent a school in the United States and see how much it will cost you, the fees will BLOW YOU AWAY. Think about it, why should Sweden allow students from outside the EU to come to Sweden to study for free when Swedish students who want to study outside the EU get hit with BIG TIME FEES? It cant be a one-way street.
18:48 May 23, 2012 by aveminus
I have no clue why most Swedish students think non-Swedish students get CSN money. Sorry but they don't. Why is it that countries like US, UK, Australia, Canada consider education as a highly profitable industry and investment and Sweden considers it as a charity and liability ?? I am very much in favour of having fees. But why will someone pay 80,000 SEK/year on fees and another 78,000 SEK /year on living expense and I dont even get a job seeking visa after I am done with my study. All countries that charge a fee gives a year long job search visa and Sweden doesn't. It has to be win-win for both sides. You cant expect students to spend 320,000 SEK on a degree and not even expect something as little as a job searching visa. It takes hardly 1-2 years of employment to repay back the tution fee amount as taxes. You don't have to be economic genius to figure this out. And yeah, tuition fees and better quality students does not make any sense. Does that mean Swedish and EU students are bad in studies ?? Because they don't pay fees and I don't think so they are bad and nor are non-EU students. I would be very happy to pay fees because It would be completely wrong to expect Swedish tax payers to pay my fees . The only only point I am trying to make is that there should be a proper infrastructure and better schemes for employment opportunities. If you are going to charge a fee comparable to top league universities, then of course students would expect services equal to what the top universities provide. I am just criticizing the policy and not the Swedes. Swedes are probably the nicest people of all Europeans.
19:02 May 23, 2012 by dott
Sweden, if you close this fake asylum window as well i will love you till the end of my life.
19:06 May 23, 2012 by calebian22
Schools cost money. Swedes pay ridiculously high taxes all their lives for their system. Foreigners should not get schooled for free when there is no payoff for the taxpayer. That is not cultural, that is economic.
19:15 May 23, 2012 by Iri
@Localer It seems you are more than a fake.... Who the hell are you? There is a board who selects International students, first do some study work.. Dont bark ....
19:25 May 23, 2012 by axiom
It was completely illogical that Swedish taxpayers paid for the education of just about anyone who wishes to come to study in Sweden. It is far more acceptable that these costs are cut so people can end up with more of they hard earned money in their pockets.

Each country has a duty to provide an education for its people, for those wanting to study outside, accept that it costs money so to do.

However, where there are exceptional students, the Swedish Govt has continued to offer scholarships and stipends provide a good opportunity for them to develop themselves and this is highly commendable.
19:29 May 23, 2012 by Rap43
And the loss of academic (and support) jobs at schools around the country... A-kassa, the loss of academic and professional contacts around the world now and in the future? That cost is beyond calculation.
19:31 May 23, 2012 by Freelife
Indians and Chinese are the two group which form the major portion of foreign students in the USA, the UK, Australia, Canada and other English speaking nations.

For their perspective ( I think ) the negative points for Sweden are

1) Expensive living cost

2) Mediocre quality of education

3) Non-English speaking environment

4) Non-mingling classmates

5) Housing problem

6) Cold weather

7) No part-time work

8) Language problem at work, hospital etc etc

Specially for Indians, their is a great network of Indian diaspora in the English speaking countries (because of the common wealth, British empire etc) which is very hard to find in Sweden. I
20:02 May 23, 2012 by prince T
According to Calebian22. He is non swede. I wish SD wins on time so that he does not get his citizenship. People that are swedish than swedes digust me. Caled is benefitting from the system but wants to block others.
20:16 May 23, 2012 by Hauser

I'm over and over astonished by the attitude of people like you. Why should Sweden/Europe be responsible for your (free) education ? And what is India doing for European students ? It's and outrage to claim that the Sweden is non-english environment. I'm from a European country and did a master's programe at Stockholm Uni last year. Any of the Chinese/Indian students I had in class were really able to keep up with the other students (verbally and professionally).

In my opinion introducing the fees - which aren't high by the way - was the best thing they could do. You have to make an effort first before you can start demanding.
20:27 May 23, 2012 by muscle
Ok This is what has been happening. Quality of education comes from the teachers and researchers who are present in universities. The researchers drive the industry as well.

Blekinge tekniska högskola was rated as one of the top most universities in the area of school of software engineering. i think 7th or 6th in the world.

This ranking comes from the researchers who write publications and have patents. With the lack of students, many of the senior researchers have left the institute for other countries. Thus, along with their knowledge, ranking also goes away.

And guys please, many of you haven't even completed bachelors. STOP comparing the MSc or PhD students with yourself.

I agree many students need improvement with their english, but so does many Swedish students as well. If the students are coming from countries where mother tongue, or even the official language is different. it is reasonable to understand that their english will not be good.

As for speaking, you guys should know, EVERYONE has accent. The problem arises when the accent can not be understood, which is not very often the case. (sometimes you can not even understand guys with thick british accent if you had been watching too many US english movies).

If the fee are not reduced, then atleast 1 year should be given to students AFTER their graduation to learn swedish and apply for jobs. Otherwise, no body cares how good the university is, if you are unable to get a job or run some business!
20:45 May 23, 2012 by calebian22
Prince T,

I moved to Sweden to be with my child. I am the only foreigner working for my employer in Sweden. I provide a vital service for a company looking to expand into the international marketplace. Having a native English speaker in house saves a lot of money. Plus, I pay my taxes.

I am not the immigrant that SD is opposed too (The idea that SD is anti-immigrant is patently ridiculous, but thank the media for that misconception). Coming to Sweden, providing a needed service, and paying my taxes for the next 15 years, so that my child can have a "free" education is doing it the Swedish way. I am paying my dues. I doubt that the same can be said of you.
21:10 May 23, 2012 by sobhan
I LOVE IT! GOOD MOVE SVERIGE! Most students from Third world countries are from corrupt rich families who buy their way into good countries. And then they will live on local peoples' taxes. Ridiculous!

21:59 May 23, 2012 by zhbo
Fees may not be the problem. People can pay it if they think it is a deal. But as far as I have experienced, the courses and projects are loosely organized that have not reached my expectation.

Plus, the best option for students like me is to get back after finishing the study, instead of spending another year at SFI and wait for months merely for an interview...Indeed, the positions on computers' and electronics' industry are very limited here.
22:14 May 23, 2012 by RobinHood
I assume those here who support free education in Sweden for non-EU students campaign equally hard for free education for Swedes in their own countries.

They would be such hypocrites if they didn't.
22:29 May 23, 2012 by G Kin

You are very wrong. The tuition free education helped lots of poor students who otherwise would not be able to pay. Instead it is not that the fees will weed out the poor...only the very wealthy can afford to pay.


22:45 May 23, 2012 by Freelife


I never said it is the responsibility of Sweden or any other country to educate Indians or Chinese for free. India is just the country with more than 1 billion population where English is a prime language of communication. Hence it is just easier for Indians to study and work in an English speaking country.

In my humble opinion, I really think, it won't be economically or logically a smart step for a 'third world' Indian to pay the required amount of fees for the Swedish universities. Indian students really have obvious advantages in studying at an English speaking country. The issue is compounded because of the living expenses and non-availability of part-time jobs for non-Swedish speakers. These factors make the entire study dearer than many reputed institutes in English speaking countries.

I do not oppose the introduction of the tuition fee by the Swedish government and universities. I actually welcome that. I was just expressing my response and opinions to the article. And I was discussing the reasons behind the drop in the number of students from India and China.

Whether you agree or not, in my experience and opinion, Stockholm ( and hence Sweden?), the capital, does not have an English speaking academic or work environment. I have seen trivial grammatical mistakes while speaking and writing by lecturers and professionals (as if they don't care).

And the segregation of students based on if one speaks Swedish or not is an apparent truth.

However, I am not demanding these things from Swedish people or government. I am just stating what I think as the actualities. I can be wrong and ignorant. But the decrease in the number of students imply the opposite, I suppose.!
23:17 May 23, 2012 by Uncle
G Kin

I am sorry, why does Sweden need to take care of the "deprived" and "less privileged" from India and China? Why wouldn't, say, India and China take this task on itself?

Can someone tell be in Business case language what is the benefit for Sweden to educate foreign students for free? WHAT IS THE BENEFIT?

I read that someone here suggested "better connections" with the outer scientific world. As if GB and USA with their paid Unis do not have these connections.

On the contrary, a tuition increases the income of these Unis, allowing for better salaries for professors and therefore attracting better professors. Overall the quality of the universities rise, by that attracting students who can afford to pay. By that increasing the reputation of the unies further and with that, strengthening scientific connections. Plus, high cost projects could be run, instead of paying for thousands students, who will leave the "racist Sweden, that dares not to speak an easy language"

How in GOD's name is it beneficial for Sweden to educate others for free? Why not give them a car instead (because they are underprivileged)? Let's start paying to all the indian homeless people in India a european salary, That would be noble and fair! Let's increase taxes even further, to buy an iPad to every Chinese... What is this nonsense?
23:58 May 23, 2012 by Scepticion
"Can someone tell be in Business case language what is the benefit for Sweden to educate foreign students for free? WHAT IS THE BENEFIT?"

In quite a number of high-tech jobs there is a lack of sufficient Swedish students. There are big deficiencies in the health care system, or KTH can't get enough good Swedish students. I bet that in quite a number of places (gävle etc.) courses have to be shut down because of a lack of students, so the few swedish students can't study what they wanted to study anymore either. It is a fact that Swedish students don't like to study hard and take difficult subjects like science and math. Like this you cannot maintain the high tech companies that give jobs.
01:46 May 24, 2012 by aveminus
If your car does not sell you dont blame the customer. Or do you??

If there is a sharp decline in students then isn't it obvious that you guys missed a trick or two??

NO ONE HERE IS TRYING TO RIP OFF SWEDISH TAX PAYERS. Be it a class of 30 or 60 you still pay the lecturer same salary. So where do you save money ??

NO ONE HERE IS ASKING TO MAKE THE EDUCATION FREE. But if I have to spend 150000 Kr per year on fees and living expenses wouldn't I rather choose to study in a country like US or Germany where I have better job prospects?

In the so called third world countries 50000 Kr a year salary would be considered a decent income. And you expect really bright students paying 150000 Kr a year. For that kind of money all you will get is rich brats.

Why does the West depend on the so called third world countries to rescue their bankrupt companies ??
01:50 May 24, 2012 by prince T
Caleb 22. I hear your story a lot, especially from americans. I came to sweden for love or to be with my child. If u are really busy in UK, would u have left it for sweden. Let us be honest hustler Caleb. The last time i took social is 10 years ago, that is why u dont see me regularly on TL like u do. I work. I pay my taxes too.

The point here is that sweden is loosing professional workforce at alarming rate. Whether we like it or not foreigners are already taking owenership of our companies. Education could have been a better way of winning them over. Look at those swedish talents in Uk, usa and canada. Obama an immigrant yesterday sees USA as his own today. How many swedish passport holding immigrants can say dat in sweden. Let us not deceive ourselves we are fast becing china colony.
08:58 May 24, 2012 by SecondGen

"....Unfortunately Jan Björklund fails to recognize there is no direct correlation between ability to pay and quality of student. ..."

I'd have to totally disagree with you. As an adult I went back to school to complete an MS/CS and students in school on financial aid (and especially those who received free tuition) didn't always attend class, and often times the instructors saddled me with them on my team (I was one of the fewer older adults in the classes with actual working experience) because they didn't understand concepts. So often it was "Just let them add one screen to your project so they can explain it in front of class".

Students paying have skin in the game and care about the outcome (besides, how can one burden society to train them so they can make more money?).

Also, I don't see anything above saying PhD students are treated any differently than any other - in some other discussion here they were claiming this was only for bachelor degrees.

@prince T

Yea. Obama is an immigrant so what? Between Bush and Obama the USA probably lost more jobs to 'Project 1INCH' than any other country in the world. 1INCH (Phase 1 INCH) was the designated name of IBM's moving jobs to INdia and CHina. I was on a project designated for 1INCH disposal when they suddenly found a buyer for us so we were spared. IBM later created rules that you didn't need to train your replacement but I had told them I'd gladly train my replacement, but they needed to fly me to India, not fly them to the U.S. (figured I'd at least get a free trip out of it)
10:49 May 24, 2012 by aussie abroad
I can completely understand the argument that Swedish taxpayers shouldn't be forced to continually subsidise the free education of foreigners. Personally I'm not so concerned about this, as long as they are not taking the place of similarily talented Swedish students, which I don't think is occurring. If a miniscule amount of my taxes contribute to a better educated society then I can live with that. But I get people's dislike of this situation and they've democratically voted in a government who hears their concerns and responded to them.

The way I see it is the government had two options to choose in between;

The first was to do what some of the earlier posters, aveminus and muscle, suggested and keep the free education and then also attempt to keep talented graduates in Sweden by giving them the opportunity to find jobs and contribute through their skills and taxes.

The second is to introduce fees for overseas students but then the quality of education needs to be greatly improved to compete with the education in other fee-paying countries such as the US and UK. As a student at a Swedish university who has previously completed a degree at a full-paying university in Australia there is really no comparison. The Swedish highger education system is severely lacking in quality compared to its overseas counterparts.

It seems that the choice taken by the government is really the worst of these two options, which is to introduce fees, without in any way improving the quality. Just where is all the extra money going?
11:19 May 24, 2012 by Hashim Ali
In some ways, that was the point; not the reduction in itself, but as education minister Jan Björklund has explained, the fees are meant to focus on quality as the main attraction of studying in Sweden, rather than it being free," he said.

"Of course, more of them now come from other European countries as students from within the EU can't be charged tuition fees in Sweden, which is one of the consequences of the change," he said

Ridiculous. Exactly as expected. On one hand, quality of education is mentioned and on the other hand, nothing has been done to improve quality. Instead of making their admissions more tough and competitive AND improving their higher education, they have gone on to apply tuition fees to NON-EUROPEANS only. If indeed there was any corelation between quality and cost, then all Europeans including Swedes should be paying tuition fee as well and if not, then it shoudl remain free for all. Period.
13:32 May 24, 2012 by Uncle


"Can someone tell be in Business case language what is the benefit for Sweden to educate foreign students for free?"

@ Scepticion

In quite a number of high-tech jobs there is a lack of sufficient Swedish students. There are big deficiencies in the health care system, or KTH can't get enough good Swedish students"

I am sorry, was it a business case language?

A BUSINESS CASE language is as follows : "Currently there is a lack if 20% (replace with the correct number) engineers on Swedish markets. Out of these there are 5% (replace accordingly) that are covered by foreign graduates. With the introduction of tuition, the figure stands at 3% (according to whateversite.se). Therefore the Swedish economy loses one gozillion euro per year. At the same time, tuition costs the state a gozillion minus shmazillion euro per year. Therefore the Net Present Value of sponsoring the students is economically viable."

NOBODY HERE made a case. So it looks like all of you are a babbling bunch, who cannot prove (not surprisingly) why it is smarter spending money rather than getting money.

Also, on one hand, there are posts here that these graduates do not get workplaces in Sweden, on the other hand you claim that since there are not enough engineers in Sweden, these foreign graduates could fill the positions.

Which one is true then? If we one billion indians and one billion chinese get education in Sweden, but the immigration laws, as well as the nerve of Swedes to work in their awful and not fair language, do not allow them to stay, how is it beneficial for Sweden to sponsor the studies of these 2 billion wonderful people? Also, if the swedish education "crappy" as many here stated, why wouldn't it be feasible to inject money into it in order to revive it, instead of continuing providing "crappy" free education??? Plenty of contradictions, as it is common among people who love free stuff.


WHY? If there is a possibility to sponsor our own students for free on the expense of foreign students, by that making a competitive advantage for OUR country, why would we do otherwise? Why wouldn't we assist OUR students, OUR factories, OUR farmers, OUR small businesses?!
17:18 May 24, 2012 by SecondGen
@prince T

"...Obama an immigrant yesterday sees USA as his own today..."

By the way, Obama isn't an immigrant, you can't be President of the United States and be an immigrant (I missed commenting on this last night and it won't allow 2 comments in a row).
19:26 May 24, 2012 by tr2001
As being of a foreign student myself, i agree that most of the tuition-free students are "fake" and came here just to hang out, maybe find some low quality job or get an easy degree including myself but not most of the students are to blame because the system is not good either. Students aren't financially supported by any organisation and nobody is caring or helping to make life easier, students even can't find a room to stay and it is not easy to adopt such a cold country in a short time. Education is not so good either. Teacher's are nice and kind but they are not caring about students thesis' or helping them to improve their work at all. I feel that we aren't welcomed here even as a student. In summary, It's still ok and good to come as a student if there are NO FEES. Otherwise there are better countries to go.
14:37 May 25, 2012 by Slash
Guys this is not about fee...

I love swedes because they are very humble...

The labour market is not good in sweden unlike other countries like Germany, Netherlands, Denmark etc etc...It is not very hard to find an internship in these countries especially in Netherlands and Germany..their universities are better recognised and fee is reasonable...even in Germany the best University charges a mere 500 euros per semester and you get one year job search visa...

but the fee in swedish universities are outrageously high, but again we cant criticize that as it is the swedish govt way of making policy. so the simple rule is choose another destination where you can afford...
17:37 May 25, 2012 by mutex

I'm quite sure that the tuition fee will be in its place for many year before they even decide to change it, Sweden will soon suffer from its impacts soon. I see no point for poor talented students.

I know government doesn't want to waste money but I hope they at least try to attract more swedes otherwise soon (I mean in 10 or 15 years) we will see a collapse in economy and industry. :( I'm sure no one remember about these days.
18:07 May 25, 2012 by Spuds MacKenzie
@prince T Ummm, you do realize President Obama is NOT an immigrant, right? LMAO! Hawaii, where he was born, is part of the USA.
20:39 May 25, 2012 by graceolsson

I agree with you. I speak English since I know myself but I´ve accent. I can´t change it. I tried and what can I do?


We, Swede, pay high tax and before, many students came to Sweden, studied and returned to their countries...I didn´t see any sense with that Government decision.

But...we know that there are scholarships and many students are getting to study if they get it.... I studied a long time in USA and I paid for it...Why shouldn´t be the same in Sweden?
23:03 May 25, 2012 by Pallas.Athena
First of all, i do not believe the way america and other countries portray education, where education is seen as a "product" rather than a "right". in this way i was a huge fan of scandinavia or sweden because i think at least this part of the world is still on the right path. secondly, i do not see why sweden should not offer free education as it has got an economy which can afford it. this i am saying because most of the foreign students are coming from third world countries who benifits from it. it does not imply bringing billions of people from china and india as in reality this was never the case. being "socially responsible" is a great topic in the business world today and this was certainly not a big expense for swedish economy....

again, no one has to be an expert on economics to say that there is a shortage of proffessionals in certain industry in sweden and it is also true that a lot of swedes do not want to go to uni's. so saying that sweden do not need proffessionals is not very acceptable i guess.....

and lastly...if sweden decides to move from the "right" to the "product" view of education it really needs to coordinate its labor markets accordingly...
00:02 May 26, 2012 by somecomments
Some small facts:

1-Nobody pays foreign students directly, but Sweden pays its own Swedish academic staff and infrastructure

2-Foreign students are concentrated only in Master programs, there are very few programs in English in bachelor level. PhD students are actually low-paid researchers and not students (they also pay tax)

3-There were around 8000 foreign student each year in Sweden. www.regeringen.se/sb/d/10403/a/107816

based on different calculations Sweden was spending 50m USD to 100m USD on this each year(again not to the students themselves, but to Swedish systems). This number is not any big deal for Swedish economy (458,000m USD GDP) or comparing with weapons export (800m USD 2010) or even international aids (2300m USD, 2007)

4-Arms export to India (10%) is comparable to money spent on all foreign students


5-Each foreign student injects 78000 SEK per year (as regular expenses) into Swedish economy. Not a big number but anyway

6-Sweden has enjoy 180,000 brain gain (1987-2002) bit.ly/LvNmhy . Sweden was actually one of the few countries in the world who enjoyed more brain gain than brain drain (meanwhile Sweden lost around 100,000 due to brain drain). One can easily imagine that the free educational system was a major contributer to this bit.ly/JK0dfw. Also while brain gain population accumulates but the number of students remains constant in each year.

7-Every brain gain of a bachelor degree (16 years) covers at least 8 free masters degrees (2 years) who return back. Those people were subsidized by their original countries but were Sweden had the chance to pick them. For a country such as Iran, each brain drain costs around 1,800,000 SEK this is what the brain gain country takes.(en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brain_drain_in_Iran)

8-Even those foreign students who return back , would probably have tendency to open up business channels back to Sweden


1-It is good to have a fee based education system and still foreign students try to get in, but Swedish educational system is not at that situation

2-It is good to be selective in taking foreign students into free educations, to improve the rate of those who remain in the country. But it seem Sweden has not yet devised related policies

3-Still the number of brain gains might suggest that Sweden was good in investing in its foreign students. But this investment does not continue anymore

4-being non-free, non-selective, and no strong scholarship programs is the easiest way, but probably not the best
01:57 May 26, 2012 by jjoensuu

A propos the negative points that you list with Sweden, some of them are more valid than others. But "Expensive living cost" does not belong as number 1 nor even on the list at all, unless you are comparing prices with India.

When all costs are viewed, Sweden is reasonably priced when compared with for example UK or Australia (of course Swedes may themselves still believe otherwise). The cheapest modern country I lived in was Singapore but foreign Uni students there do not get free education so then again that cost should be included in the total.

Anyway besides that though the "Indian diaspora in the English speaking countries" that you mention is likely a reason for Indian people to choose one of those Commonwealth countries.
15:46 May 26, 2012 by Pooyeh
Positive points to study in Sweden:

1. Full insurance support

2. SFI

3. Easy to get the visa after being accepted at the university

Negative points to study in Sweden:

1. High living cost

2. Swedish language

3. Accommodation problem at least in Stockholm

4. The good ranking but not one of top 20

5. Suspicious to foreign people

6. Not to support the students to extend their visa after graduation in order to find the job

7.High tuition fee

8. very cold whether

9. The length of the day and night
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The unique story of Stockholm's floating libraries
The Stockholm archipelago book boat. Photo: Roger Hill.

Writer Roger Hill details his journeys on the boats that carry books over Stockholm's waterways and to its most remote places.

Refugee crisis
Second Stockholm asylum centre fire in a week
The new incident follows a similar fire in Fagersjö last week (pictured). Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

Police suspect arson in the blaze, as well as a similar incident which occurred last Sunday.

More misery for Ericsson as losses pile up
Ericsson interim CEO Jan Frykhammar presenting its third quarter results. Photo: Claudio Bresciani/TT

The bad news just keeps coming from the Swedish telecoms giant.

Facebook 'sorry' for removing Swedish cancer video
A computer displaying Facebook's landing page. Photo: Christine Olsson/TT

The social media giant had censored a video explaining how women should check for suspicious lumps in their breasts.

Watch this amazing footage of Sweden’s landscapes
A still from the aerial footage of Sweden. Photo: Nate Summer-Cook

The spectacular drone footage captures both Sweden's south and the opposite extreme, thousands of kilometres north.

Sweden could be allowed to keep border controls: EU
Police ID checks at Hyllie station in southern Sweden. Photo: Stig-Åke Jönsson/TT

Sweden could be allowed to keep ID controls on its border with Denmark beyond the current end date of November, following discussions among EU leaders in Brussels last night.

Why women in Sweden will work for free by November
File photo of a woman working in a Swedish office. Photo: Anders Willund/TT

A new study into the gender pay gap suggests Sweden still has some work to do.

Look familiar? Meet your jawbone's ancestor
Thank God for evolution, eh?

There's something fishy about the human jawbone – it has its origins in the placodermi, a jowly species of fish that lived 400 million years ago, Swedish and Chinese researchers say.

Isis claims unremarked arson attack in Malmö
The arson attack took place on Norra Grängesbergsgatan in Malmö. File photo: Emil Langvad/TT

An arson attack in Malmö that caused only minor damage and was barely reported in the media has been claimed by terror group Isis.

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This is Malmö: Football capital of Sweden
Fury at plans that 'threaten the IB's survival' in Sweden
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Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
Here's where it could snow in central Sweden this weekend
Analysis & Opinion
Are we just going to let half the country die?
Blog updates

6 October

10 useful hjälpverb (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hej! I think the so-called “hjalpverb” (auxiliary verbs in English) are a good way to get…" READ »


8 July

Editor’s blog, July 8th (The Local Sweden) »

"Hej readers, It has, as always, been a bizarre, serious and hilarious week in Sweden. You…" READ »

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