A total of 585 non European students were admitted to Lund in 2013, a slight decrease to the 593 of the previous year. The numbers who actually enrolled in their course is lower (324) but the number of fee paying students has increased compared to 2012.
“Those who are admitted and who actually paid (enrolled) is very different. In Lund 585 students where admitted but 324 paid, and that is an increase of 46% compared to last year where 222 students paid,” Richard Stenelo
International Director & Deputy Executive Director, Division of External Relations at the University of Lund told The Local.
The Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm was next up followed by Chalmers University in Gothenburg for recruiting fee paying students.
The complete number of non European students admitted to Swedish universities in 2013 was 3,900 reports the TT news agency.
The numbers are in stark contrast to the estimated 36,000 foreign students who enrolled in Swedish universities in 2008/09.
In 2010 the Swedish parliament passed a bill to introduce tuition fees for non-EU/EEA students to make Swedish universities more competitive with academic institutions in other countries.
Universities set their own fees which can vary from 80,000 ($12,500) to 140,000 kronor per academic year for most subjects. Applications by foreign students to study in Sweden dropped by 90 percent in the immediate aftermath of tuition fees being introduced.
“It's not cheap for somebody coming from a developing country,” said master's student Gabriel Pavico from the Philippines who is studying at the Univerisity of Lund to Swedish Radio.
Pavico is one of the 324 fee paying non-EU students at Lund and is paying an estimated 200,000 kronor for his education.
“The fees are expensive and influences the level of diversity at the university,” said Pavico who holds down two jobs in Lund in order to support himself.
An editorial in the Dagbladet newspaper said that the numbers reflected the strength and spending power of the larger universities in Sweden.
“The universities that have recovered best and attracted the largest number of fee paying students is, as expected, the large and well known ones like the Royal Institute of Technology and Chalmers. For the smaller colleges and universities the recovery is weaker,” said editor Kalle Olsson.
However, there are signs of a pick-up for smaller universities argues Ulf Larsson of the University of Halmstad.
“Last year in the autumn we had 70 paying students and now it has almost doubled,” said Larsson who is head of the international department at Halmstad.
* This article was updated on Sunday October 6th to incorporate new figures supplied to The Local by the University of Lund.