Linlu Guo, a student from China, is one of more than 4,000 students from outside the European Union who paid to study in Sweden last year. Guo’s family has invested all of their savings into her teaching degree at Stockholm University.
While Linlu Guo’s degree costs the Swedish state about 45,000 kronor per year for each Swedish or EU student, for Guo and other non-EU students paying out of their own pockets, the price tag is at 90,000 kronor per year. In other words, twice as much.
The survey by Swedish Radio News shows that Stockholm University is not the only university that charges money on top of the cost for the education itself. Non-EU students are having to pay from 20,000 kronor extra per year, to more than 60,000 kronor extra on top of the estimated actual cost for Swedish or EU students.
Tuition fees were introduced for non-EU students five years ago, but there has been no national review of the price tags for higher education programmes.
“It’s not like we should be making money out of these students. We should provide them with good education, at full price coverage,” said Jerker Dahne, head of Student Services at Stockholm University.
Dahne believes that non-EU students are forced to pay up to twice the actual estimated cost of their education, so as to cover the universities’ additional expenses for marketing and administration. But he agrees that this is something that costs money for Swedish and EU students as well.
"That is correct..," he said. "This is not an exact science, it’s an estimate and a judgment call on what’s reasonable".
Asked whether he thinks the non-EU-students are aware of how much of the fee covers the education itself, Dahne said that this information is public, but added that he doesn’t think students are too interested in exactly how the money is distributed.
"What matters to them is to get a quality education," he said.
But Linlu Guo, studying for her teaching degree, doesn’t think she’s getting that from Stockholm University.
In spite of paying 90,000 kronor per year, she only has one or two lectures per week. She feels like she’s been deceived – because she would not have paid this much if she’d understood how the money is being used.
And she feels ashamed thinking about the high tuition fees paid by her parents.