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Sweden to boost foreign student scholarships

19 Sep 2012, 14:37

Published: 19 Sep 2012 14:37 GMT+02:00

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“We think it is a great initiative,” Kay Svensson, International Coordinator at Uppsala University, told The Local.

In 2011, tuition fees were introduced for students from countries outside of the EES and Switzerland who wanted to study at Swedish universities.

At the time, education ministry officials explained they wanted Swedish universities to compete globally based on the quality of the education rather than free tuition.

The higher education fees, which went into effect for the 2011 autumn term, ranged from 100,000 kronor ($16,000) per annum to around 230,000 kronor, depending on the programme and school.

At the same time, a scholarship scheme was put into effect to make it possible for students from less affluent countries to be able to study in Sweden.

However, in order to boost the numbers of applications from non-European students, the government has included a proposal in the 2013 budget to increase the number of scholarships aimed at students from developing countries as defined the Development Assistance Committee of the OECD.

The funds available to finance the scholarships will be increased by 50 million kronor ($7.6 million) by 2013, bringing to 100 million kronor the amount of money set aside each year in the budget.

The scholarships will be awarded by the Swedish Institute and will be financed through the government’s aid subsidies.

An additional 60 million kronor will be made available for scholarships to be awarded for academic excellence to students from anywhere in the world.

These will be allocated to universities by the International Programme Office for Education and Training (Internationella programkontoret).

The government hopes the measure would result in more students from lower- and middle-income countries being able to benefit from a Swedish university education.

According to Svensson, the new funds will most likely mean an increase of students from developing countries coming to Uppsala University, which has experience a decrease in such students since fees were introduced.

“But it must be said that from some of the countries we have received more students since the scholarship scheme and the tuition fees were introduced,” Svensson said.

“Even with no tuition fees it was never free to study and live in Sweden.”

Story continues below…

According to Svensson it is important for the university to attract a diverse group of scholars and students.

“For us to maintain the high level of research that we strive for, we need to have a diverse university environment. It works both ways, they get a quality education and we benefit from their different experiences and research outlook," Svensson told The Local.

Rebecca Martin

Follow Rebecca on Twitter here.

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Your comments about this article

16:42 September 19, 2012 by OopSan
2011 - Let's introduce the fee for nonEU students!

2012 - we miss you nonEU students, please come back!

The Swedish government is so consistent.
17:48 September 19, 2012 by Fernandis
Sweden believes that EU-students are not hard working ;) and they interfere too much in internal matters of Sweden and remain busy unnecessary discussing how to regulate immigration, work, etc without being consulted ;)
22:22 September 19, 2012 by Mukr
Its insane..how can they charge 230,000 kronor while it takes a decade to refill that money in my country......did you ever think that other countries have less money value then Sweden.....so its like investing 230,000 kronor and get them back the same amount without any interest rate....I rather simply invest in stock market all that money and who know they might fetch Huge money and i will buy a bankcurpt swedish mall and start business their..Its insane
12:04 September 20, 2012 by Achilles7
Why does Mr. Svensson think it so important that the university attract a 'diverse group' of scholars and students? Diversity is, more often than not, a source of conflict and tension. People get along much better, study more efficiently and work more productively, when they speak the same language, have the same culture and come from a similar background. Anyone who seriously denies this is simply denying reality.
12:31 September 20, 2012 by andrewsrocks
@Achilles7 for an ideal world of isolation and self sufficiency your ridiculuos opinion is probably valid, but swedes and swedish products need to go out too. Sweden depends on foreign countries too much to have such an arrogant perspective. Millions of kronas in arms sales, telephnony technology and service providers in for instance Pakistan. Factories in Poland, India, China, etc, All of those sources or revenue generated by Sweden abroad with domestic trained people. Mutinatinal companies like Ericsson works in dozens of countries and the work environment is by definition diverse.Unfortunately swedish elders like Mr. Svensson are clever enough to realize the benefits of a diverse environment for young students in today's real world. I suspect that your childish racist hatred is what drives swedes in universities to keep such a strong segregation from foreign born students.
11:22 September 22, 2012 by alecLoTh

Serious? Your knee jerk reaction is obviously not grounded in reality, facts or science. It's an emotionally biased outburst, so stop trying to dress it up as anything but that. Everything you said goes against what we as a learning civilization know to be true by study and observation. Read something before writing anything next time.
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