US student's lawsuit for uni fees set to begin
The precedent-setting case of an American student who sued a Swedish university for her tuition is set to start next week and highlights the regulatory vacuum around the rights of foreign college students.
"The only thing I really want is to get a degree," said Connie Dickinson in an interview with Radio Sweden. "In that I don't have any of my money left that's impossible. I can't apply to a different program and continue my studies unless I'm given a refund."
In 2011 Connie Dickinson decided to use money she had earned bartending in California to apply for a program in analytical finance at the Mälardalen University in central Sweden.
She began her coursework that fall, but said she noticed problems right away. Before beginning her third year in 2013, the school emailed students in Connie's program saying that the National Higher Education Authority had found major problems with the program. Connie decided to drop out and ask for her money back.
She wrote the university demanding a full refund of the money she had paid in, about 110,000 kronor per year. The school refused. But because there is unclarity about the rights of foreign students who pay tuition in Sweden, Connie's only recourse was the public court system.
In an investigative series this week, Swedish Radio has spotlighted the lack of clarity and vacuum of legal rights for foreign students who pay tuitions to Swedish schools.
The Centre of Justice has taken up her cause, and her court is set to begin next week. It's considered the first of its kind.