Far fewer foreign students heading for Sweden after tuition fees introduction


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Tuesday, 28 June 2011
The number of students from countries outside EU / EEA and Switzerland who will begin studying at Swedish universities dropped like a bungee jumping. This came as expected by opponents, of the introduction of tuition fees to student coming form those parts of the world.
Swedish universities have been forced therefore to make adjustments in the operations.

From having been studying for free, students from outside the EU / EEA and Switzerland, have seen the Swedish higher educational landscape change economically. Tuition fees have been introduced and the fees are not low. The fees affect mostly university’s full time programs not including exchange courses or secondary and high schools.
Those considered of having strong ties with Sweden, for example, students with a residence permit for other reasons than studying can also study here for free.
All third-country students already studying in Sweden may also complete their education without charge.

The introduction of tuition fees also tested the popularity of Swedish higher educational attractiveness and popularity. One considers the fact that in places such as the UK and the USA for example, foreign students beg to pay very high fees to study in their institutions. Could Sweden again from students flocking to study here when tuition fees are introduced?

No! Not the same. In the autumn the so-called third-country students, who were a goring minority, fully diversifying the Swedish would-be-boring-Swedish- only-less challenging educational arenas fell.  According to the Swedish higher education board, only 1,280 persons started courses in Swedish universities from out of EU. These are those who have paid the new tuition fee of about Skr100 000 or more.

The decline was expected according to officials after foreign students have been studying here for free for many years.

Education minister, Jan Bj´┐Żrklund, thinks that it is good that foreign students come here, but he sees no problem with the drop.
“There is no reason for Swedish taxpayers to shoulder the tuition fees of students from other parts of the world. Virtually all other countries have fees for foreign students. Now schools have to compete with their quality to attract students, not by being a low cost alternative,” he says.

Lars Haikola, an official in the Swedish Higher Education board, believes that other forces other than the state must jointly work towards a substantial scholarship program for this group. Research and education are globalized,” he points out.
He believes that foreigners who study in Sweden are ambassadors for Sweden and something must be done to encourage them.
By Team

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