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Universities in Sweden Cease to be Tuition Free for International students from 2011

A lot have been said and discussed about tuition free Universities and colleges in Sweden, Netherland, Norway and some other European Countries. The truth is that tuition free education Institutions have long exited for international students in some countries and the positive impact of free tuition in these countries in the lives of African and international students can not be over-emphasized.
Beginning with the autumn semester 2011, Sweden will be introducing application and tuition fees for some international students who apply for courses and programmes at universities and university colleges. An application fee of 900 SEK (Swedish kronor) must be received by the deadline indicated in order for your application to be processed.

Recently, The Swedish government has presented a bill outlining tuition and application fees for students from non-EU/EEA countries from the 2011/2012 academic year, to be supplemented by scholarship programs.
Up until now, Sweden has been one of the few countries in Europe that do not charged any types of fees to study in their universities and colleges. All students-regardless of nationality-have been funded by Swedish taxpayers. The Swedish government now wants to reallocate some of this money to higher education institutions that show particular excellence, so as to meet Global competition for talent which is on the increase and to have Swedish universities compete on equal terms with universities in other countries.

As a member of the European Union, the rules for Swedes also apply to citizens of other EU or EEA countries, and Switzerland. Exchange students are also exempt from fees, as their studies are regulated by agreements between Swedish and foreign universities. Thus, the new rules apply only to oversees/international students from outside the EU/EEA.
As these non-EU/EEA students add value to the Swedish educational system and are an attractive talent base, the government will introduce two scholarship programs in compensation for it’s current decision.

Starting in 2011, one of the scholarship programs will be endowed with SEK 30 million per year, and is aimed at students from countries with which Sweden already has long-term development cooperations. These countries are:
Bangladesh
Bolivia
Burkina Faso
Cambodia
Ethiopia
Kenya
Mali
Mozambique
Rwanda
Tanzania
Uganda and
Zambia.

Another scholarship program will be administered by universities directly and is open to all International students from outside the EU/EEA. The budget will be SEK 30million (€ 3 million) for 2011, and will be increased to SEK 60million for 2012.
This will give qualified students who lack the appropriate funding the continued opportunity to study in Sweden. Additionally, foreign students subject to fees would be fully insured through the national health care system.
Moreover, the Swedish government recently introduced more liberal labor migration laws, making it much easier to move to Sweden for work-or stay in Sweden after studies. Students that have a job when their student permit expires can easily change this into a work permit. Also, there is no set quota for work permits for foreign citizens.

Below, are some relevant questions and answers about the proposed bill collected from the website linked below.

TUITION and APPLICATION FEES

– Why is Sweden planning to introduce tuition fees?

A vast majority of the European Union’s member countries charge tuition fees and the Swedish government wants Swedish higher education institutions to compete on equal terms. Also, the government wants to use some of the money that today finances foreign students’ fees to award institutions that have shown particular excellence. In the long run, this will make Swedish higher education even more attractive in the increasing global competition.

– Will students who begin two-year studies in 2010 have to pay fees in their second year?

No, students who start a program before tuition fees are introduced will be able to complete their studies according to the rules of the old system.

– Will the fees apply to exchange students?

No, those students who take part in an exchange between a Swedish university and university in their home country will not be subject to Swedish tuition fees.

– How high will tuition fees be?

The fees will be set by the institutions themselves. They will cover the full cost of studies. Therefore the fee levels may vary depending on the type of course and institution, and in what part of Sweden the course is given. The most expensive master’s programs may cost more than SEK 100,000 per year. Many other study programs are likely to cost considerably less.

– Will there be application fees?

The government has decided that there will be application fees, starting with autumn semester 2011. The exact cost has not yet been decided. Details will be posted on the website below when they become available.

– When will tuition fees need to be paid?

When applying for a residence permit for studies before coming to Sweden, students need to have paid for the first semester of their studies, at minimum. As before, students need to show that they can support themselves during their stay in Sweden, see next question for details.

– What is the cost of living in Sweden?

The amount of money that you need to have to cover your cost of living is SEK 7,300 per month. This amount is set by the Swedish Migration Board and you will need to show that you can cover this cost for the duration of your study permit.
– What will be the total cost for studying in Sweden?

The total cost will be one to three years of tuition fees (depending on the study program), plus one to three years of the required amount to cover your living expenses, i.e. SEK 73,000 per year (calculated for ten months).

– Why don’t students from EU countries have to pay fees?

Higher education in Sweden is funded by taxes and is therefore free for Swedish citizens. As a member of the European Union, the rules for Swedes also apply to citizens of other EU countries.

SCHOLARSHIPS

– Will there be scholarships?

Yes, the government plans to introduce a scholarship program for students from 12 developing countries (Bangladesh, Bolivia, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mali, Mozambique, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia) alongside a scholarship program that is not geographically limited.

STUDYING in SWEDEN

– How can I study for a PhD?

Gaining admission to PhD programs in Sweden is very competitive. Studying for a master’s degree in Sweden gives you a chance to show that you can excel in your studies, which will make it easier for you to gain admission to a PhD program at a Swedish university.

– What is the language of instruction?

Most courses are taught in Swedish. However, a large number of courses at master’s level are taught entirely in English because institutions want to be able to attract foreign as well as national students.

WORKING in SWEDEN

– Can I work in Sweden after my studies?

This depends very much on the subject you have studied. Students that have a job when their student permit expires can easily change this into a work permit. Also, there is no set quota for work permits for foreign citizens. See the current labor shortage list to find out which skills are in demand:

– Will I be able to work during my studies to cover some of the cost?

Yes, you are allowed to work alongside your studies. Please note, however, that for the visa application, you will need to show that you have sufficient funding to cover your living expenses for the duration o
f your study permit, excluding the summer break (SEK 7,300per month, during the semester, i.e. SEK 73,000 per year). In other words, you cannot rely on being able to work alongside your studies to cover your living expenses.
Information Source: Studyinsweden.se

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