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No national scrutiny of Swedish tuition fees

Published tisdag 10 maj 2016 kl 13.00
Student union: "sounds like universities are abusing the system"
(2:06 min)
Adriana Jiménes. Photo: Emelie Rosén/Sveriges Radio
Adriana Jiménes is the international coordinator at Stockholm University's student union. Photo: Emelie Rosén/Sveriges Radio

Despite the fact that Swedish colleges and universities are charging foreign students tens of thousands of kronor more than what the same education is estimated to cost for their EU counterparts, there has not been a national review of these prices.

Each university or college sets its own tuition fees in Sweden.

"It sounds like they're abusing the system," says Adriana Jimenez, international coordinator at Stockholm University's student union. She thinks the situation is "terrible".

Last year, Swedish institutions of higher learning took in half a billion kronor in application and tuition fees from students coming from outside the EU. This sum has risen steadily since tuition fees for foreign students were introduced in the fall of 2011.

Despite this, there has been no national review of the prices. Some universities have set tuition fees for foreign students at 50,000 or 60,000 kronor per year more than the actual education is estimated to cost.

Adriana Jimenez believes it's problematic that foreign students are being forced to pay so much more than their peers from within the EU for the same education.

And she feels the situation is even more serious, because in her experience, foreign students aren't well aware of their rights and need to spend a lot of their time and energy in the lead up to their studies just to go through the administrative process of getting here.

None of the students that Swedish Radio News has been in contact with for this series of reports says that they have gotten information about how their tuition fees are being used, even though in some cases they are paying around double what the actual education is estimated to cost.

Eva Malmström Jonsson, the Deputy President of KTH, the Royal Institute of Technology, says that they have made "a careful analysis to get a picture of the costs, but it's not an exact science. There must be rough estimates, depending on the costs that different parts of the university have."

Malmström Jonsson is also part of a council to internationalize Swedish universities and colleges, and so is following the issue with interest.

She tells Swedish Radio News that the National Financial Management Authority can review the university's prices, but tuition fees are an exception to what the authority looks at. And so, there is no external review at all.

But she says she hopes that there will be a review.

Our journalism is based on credibility and impartiality. Swedish Radio is independent and not affiliated to any political, religious, financial, public or private interests.
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