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Swedish unis in foreign student scholarship plea

31 Aug 2012, 15:30

Published: 31 Aug 2012 15:30 GMT+02:00

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Enrollment of non-European students in Swedish universities declined drastically following the introduction of tuition fees last year, with engineering students from Asia being among those most affected by the change.

Despite a slight upswing in the number of non-EU students last year there are still far fewer today than in 2010, before the introduction of tuition fees.

Among masters students - the biggest group of non-EU students in Sweden - the drop has been dramatic. Around 4,300 are expected to enroll in Swedish universities this fall, compared to 17,000 two years ago, reports Sveriges Radio (SR).

At the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) in Stockholm, the number of new non-EU students enrolled at the school dropped from 1,000 to 300, a trend that concerns Professor Eva Malmström Jonsson

"If it becomes to European, [students] won't get the preparation they need to be active in the global labour market," she told SR.

The reduction in students from countries outside of Europe has prompted some universities to appeal to the government to provide more funding for scholarships that can help people cover costly tuition fees.

"If we are to compete over the best students we need to have a good scholarship programme. Other countries do," Maissa Al-Adhami of the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm told Sveriges Radio (SR).

In May this year, an analysis of Swedish university admissions statistics by the Swedish National Agency for Higher Education (Högskoleverket) found that the total number of new foreign student enrollments dropped by a third between 2010 and 2011.

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 at the time.

With tuition fees averaging 120,000 kronor ($18,000) there is also a concern that Swedish universities will attract the wealthiest, rather than the most talented, overseas students.

Story continues below…

Richard Stenelo, head of external relations at Lund University, has noticed a drop in applicants from countries in Africa and Latin America since the introduction of tuition fees.

"It's because we do not have enough scholarship funds and they cannot afford to study in Sweden," Stenelo told SR.

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Your comments about this article

16:44 August 31, 2012 by ttrs_d
There is a shortage in accommodation and work. untill we have a free market, there is not much to do.
17:57 August 31, 2012 by cupidcub
lol Sweden, being a super developed country, how can you be so short-sighted ? What did you expect ? That people from Asia, Africa will come to study in Sweden spending their family's whole years income in one month ?

Now you are talking about granting more scholarships. Thats even more interesting. That would probably cost more than the previous no-tuition system.

First, you hit at somebody's head very hard, and than pay for his medical treatment for years. Sounds familiar ?

Ps. I am not referring to Swedish medical system where you don't get anything for free, but other medical system where you get 'some' treatment when you pay. :D
17:59 August 31, 2012 by muscle
So where are the people now who were supporting the enforcement of fee structure. I dont understand whats so much different from giving tax payers funded education or scholrship based? Where do you think the scholarship money is coming from?
18:18 August 31, 2012 by Programmeny
I don't see why anyone would come to study in Sweden and pay such high taxes when there's no work, immigrants are treated oftently as inferior and to be honest I've lived in a church due to the lack of housing.

You are a hundred times better off going to Germany or the UK. Plenty of housing there, plenty of work, and in Germany case, way cheaper universities.

I am an EU citizen and came here only because it was free. But now I regret it bitterly. I would have rather paid a symbolic amount (300-900 euros) to a German universities and have work and where to live, or get a loan from the UK government and study there, because: I would rather work and pay my debt than not work at all and have no money.

Also, the UK has the advantage that it's an English speaking country, where you already know the language for both study and work.

Germany in other terms, even if you need to learn the language, is much more profitable with it's 90+ million speakers (not counting in Austria and Switzerland) as opposed to the mere 9 million Swedish speakers.
19:48 August 31, 2012 by JosePatricio
mmm i would like to study in sweden :D
21:35 August 31, 2012 by Rogerenden
"Germany in other terms, even if you need to learn the language, is much more profitable with it's 90+ million speakers (not counting in Austria and Switzerland) as opposed to the mere 9 million Swedish speakers. " Is the "worth of a language" really determined by the number of its speakers?

Considering the housing situation and other problems: Wouldn't it be a good idea to fix those at first so Swedish and other European students could find a good situation to study? After this goal is reached they could still try to get more students from Europe/around the world.

Anyway, I as a "core European white person" could imagine to study in Sweden.
22:49 August 31, 2012 by johan rebel
"I am an EU citizen and came here only because it was free"

Exactly. Why else would anybody want to study in Sweden?

At least the Swedish taxpayers are now rid of all those freeloaders.
01:09 September 1, 2012 by muscle
@johan rebel

for telecom sector and for software engineering sector, sweden is a good choice, better than UK US for many asian students.

And as for swedish tax payers, well they will still be paying in terms of scholarship! so no big difference!

If someone thinks that scholarship will change the whole idea , he or she is wrong. If the universities had to consider the merit, they would have done it even when education was free, also when applications were coming in high numbers.

WIth scholarship, i dont understand how it will change the merit criteria!!! as now from a smaller pool of applications they will need to select the best (no different from before but previously they had more applications thus better chances of fetching better students)

And by the way, just because you don't understand the strategy of swedish govt and universities, doesn't mean that sending students back is a bad idea. Many PhD students who went back to india, pakistan and china, are now collaborating with the peers in sweden. Thus the area of research and quality of research is growing. Experiments that can not be conducted in controlled environment such as of sweden, and with such low number of subjects, can now easily be conducted in other countries, with the researchers collaborating directly with swedish universities!

But then again, you guys will never understand this.
09:06 September 1, 2012 by Camlon
I said from the beginning that the massive tuition fee hike is retarded, and now we are seeing the effects. Seems like Swedes thought Sweden is the centre of the world and non-EU students would come anyway.

What I find interesting is that Sweden is completely mental on immigration. They just made it the immigration laws even easier, and that is going to cost more than allowing no tuition fees with no extra benefits.

All this in name of diversity, but when talking about foreign students who can contribute to Sweden afterwards, then Swedes don't care.
09:47 September 1, 2012 by Nilspet
Sweden is not only an EU country but an industrialized country in a global world. A big majority of Swedish companies make loads of money outside the EU. Just to name a few: China, USA, Russia, Thailand, Brazil, S. Africa, India, Pakistan, ...

There are some poorly informed people who think that Sweden lose more than she gains when foreign (non-EU) students come and study here. It is a win-win situation when people come here to study. No foreign students are freeloaders. Whether they leave or stay in Sweden after their studies they will always be resourceful to Sweden.

Remember this: no students, no teachers. We should be thankful that people choose to come study here. More and more international students are going to Asia (in particular China) to get higher education there. It is telling something!?

And Sweden is trying to put them off? Another reminder: international university ranking also depends on the number of international students (not just EU students).

Just a gentle reminder: the SE government is planning to spend billions of SEK in the next few years to help families of refugees reunite in Sweden. That is perhaps a freeloading ?
13:07 September 1, 2012 by coldjava
You want to study telecomm, software eng etc. ? Sweden is a great place to study and you might even get a job right after your studies as there's always demand in that sector but don't come here to study marketing, sociology and the likes.. it's a total waste of resources!

Also, bring lots and lots of money.
17:51 September 1, 2012 by DAVID T
why should the tax payer fund these people who once they get the qualifications then leave to work in another country because the taxes are too high and wages to low in Sweden - how many of these free loaders before 2010 actually stayed here and paid their hosts back in working taxes?
00:34 September 2, 2012 by Köz
Yes exactly why would sweden support these people?Well Im one of those supported International Master Students. I left sweden and working in another country but the reason is they dont give these people opportunuties. They asked us to study and leave so we did.Thanks anyway.
08:19 September 2, 2012 by Gjeebes
Do students come to Sweden for a world class education, or, because it is cost free? It seems the hens have come home to roost. If Sweden offered a quality and "competitve" education, people would be willing to pay for it...this is why UK, Germany, France and other countries in the world are successfully attracting students while charging much higher tuition fees (at least in some places tuition can be very high). Why come to Sweden? Not for the weather! You wouldn't go to the UK for the weather either, but you would have the possibility to study in a language you already know, and you will quite likely find work after your studies. Can Sweden offer this? Not by a long shot! And yes, you have the "foreigner" complex in the UK and other places, but at least this is not burried and hidden in a mountain of American styled smoke and mirrors PR; you'll find Sweden is just like any other place (i.e. as good or as crappy), possibly even worse, since Swedes actually seem to believe they are the creme de la creme (which is why, in my opinion, things that require drastic change here are completely ignored). Sweden would do well to put effort into increasing the education quality, demanding more from the students (thereby preparing them for the less pampered "real" world they will one day finally enter) and reduce the ridiculous number of "higher" education instituions. Can Sweden really self-sustain 25 universities (this figure includes university colleges as well)?
11:20 September 2, 2012 by DiegoP
I came from Latin America to study here when there were no fees. With a bit of luck and effort to learn some Swedish I managed to get a PhD position and pay back for my education. My opinion is that if Swedes want to start charging for education they are free to do so, it's their country and they can do as they think is best for their economy. They have no obligation to offer free stuff.

But I also believe the fees went way too high. The level of the education does not fit accordingly the amount of money you spend. Also, the language issue, the housing situation and the limitations in work opportunities does not help. You can charge for education, but charge a reasonable amount. Otherwise you become less competitive.

And like it or not, you need the best students you can get. Many of those students who come do a masters thesis or become PhD students; they help with the research. Research leads to innovation, which pushes a country's competitiveness.
21:09 September 2, 2012 by dotakkk
Well, at this time, i believe it is proper to invite you to reread The Road to Serfdom by Friedrich von Hayek. What socialist system can do to a country were foretold 60 yr ago. Shut the door, cut communications and competitions with others and pretend to be the best is very easy, while very costly. This is what China and Japan did 200yr earlier, and do not go on that route again.
16:58 September 3, 2012 by Descartes
You are in a supermarket and intend to buy 1 liter of orange juice. There are number of brands, presented and prices vary from USD 2 to USD 16. Swedish orange juice is not of excellent quality but it's reasonably priced at USD 5. On the other hand the cost of production for Swedish orange juice exceeds its market price by USD 4 (so production cost per 1 liter orange juice is 9 USD). The difference between the market price and production costs is subsidized by Swedish Government.

Ceteris Paribus, on average the demand on Swedish orange juice results in annual net revenues of USD 5,000 (or 1,000 people buy orange juice annually), correspondingly the government spends USD 4,000 (let's assume 1% of GDP) on subsidizing orange juice industry. One not so shiny Swedish day, the government takes a close look at orange juice industry and analysis that the industry doesn't generate any profit. Moreover, there is no clearly defined strategy, about how can they (Swedish producers) compete with US or British made orange juices that generate huge profit for its producers. To avoid future, unjustified headaches the government decides to quite subsidizing orange juice industry. As a result of government's inhuman deeds ( )))) the orange juice price jumps to USD 9. What about the demand? No quality improvements or technological break through have occurred, what changed is a price. Now my question to you, would you still buy the Swedish orange juice?
19:25 September 8, 2012 by hanif
i heard from a friend of mine that sweden is famous for introducing stupid laws. i am not sure to what extend this authentic because just hearing from a friend is not a reliable source but thinking over few examples as below i guess he was right.

1. Sweden offered free education for years and many foreign students took benefit of it but in 2010 Denmark introduced green card scheme and plenty of students moved to Denmark after completing masters. Sweden created skilled students and Denmark snatched them all. although most of them are not working professionally but at least helping Denmark economy by paying taxes.

2. Sweden has very flexible rules for uneducated asylum seekers e.g Afghanis, Somalians and allow them social benefits, quick permanent residency while most of students after graduating from Sweden go back to their countries because it is not so easy for them to get into the market even in IT and telecom sector.

They say they require skilled people to help grow their economy but they have very stupid rules for skilled people graduating from swedish universities.

They are actually very diplomatic like typical Swedish girl :) . They don't do what they really say and they don't say what they want to do.
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