me, myself & andrei

08 Jul 2010
On the tuition fees for Swedish Higher Education

The rumors have come reality. Free Swedish tuition came to its end.

The latest development puts Lund and Uppsala universities with tuition fees ranging from 80.000 to 180.000 SEK/year starting 2011 for non-EU/EEA students. source1, source2

The following is a reply to a blog post against the tuition fees:

I read your post, and having been in touch with the admission to Swedish HE, I can say this:

  1. Fees are only for non-EU, since EU citizens are supposed to treated as equals to Swedes. Thus, if the fees were to apply to EU people as well, the same fees would apply to Swedes, and the Swedish state is still in favor of free education (at least for its nation).

  2. Unfortunately I do not have the right numbers for “cost per student in Sweden” i.e. how much does the Swedish state spend for the education of one student per year, but you can check how the situation is in the US
    Say on avg. 7000$/student/year, say roughly 50000 SEK/student/year in Sweden. A regular non-EU student that comes is supposed to have 70000 SEK in a bank account per year. Many (I won’t mention nationalities) do not spend that money each month. They have their ways around, legal or illegal, and sometimes disturbing the others that expect a normal and civilized life in Sweden. But even if you spend 70000 SEK every year, how much do you think turns back to the Swedish state through taxes?!
    Surely not enough as to “gain” from foreign students..

  3. Swedish institutions had in their sight to have as many students as possible, since they received money from the state for each student they have. Thus do not believe for a second that they would deny low-educated students. As long as there are enough places (stretching them to the maximum possible), s/he will get admitted. And this happened, while the quality of education would only get lower - 1 professor to 10 students is beyond doubt of better quality than 1 professor to 50 students. And the quality of the students is distributed more or less the same, I would say, if you do not consider scholarships. If you do consider them, you will surely have a better ratio good vs less-good students.

I, for one, understand very well your situation, as I was non-EU a few years ago. But I do have to say, after living in Sweden, that the measure is a necessity. Both for the Swedish nation, and for the good students that want a high quality education.

Last, but not least, I would like to put a rhetoric question - as a student that I am interested in my education, since it affects directly my own character and my own professional future, how could I be on the same side with students that argue that they will choose other countries that have tuition fees BUT have better weather, or less of a language barrier (9 in 10 Swedes speak more than good English), etc?
Or students that think that the Swedish economy will go down because of fewer foreign students.

One needs to be insane to think that a state like Sweden is taking such a foolish decision. Although I only perceive the surface of the problem, I am still in tune with the Swedish state for engaging in tuition fees. If I weren’t in tune, I would be careful when giving such a strong negative message against this decision.