Swedish Language Blog

University Studies in Sweden Posted by on Mar 10, 2010 in Culture

Last week I wrote about Swedish relationships – the Sambo.  Plenty of non-Swedes end up in Sweden because of a relationship, love refugees if you will. Others though come to the country for educational purposes.

Sweden has long prided itself on offering a free education to anyone and everyone.  Whether you were a citizen or not, a public education was free for the taking.  Obviously, there were hurdles to jump over so that you could be accepted and granted a visa, but many people didn’t have any trouble getting in.

But you may have noticed I have been writing in the past tense.  Which is only partially correct.  Technically, a university education is still free, even to non-Swedes.  But that is in the process of changing.  As of fall 2011, non-EU students will have to pay tuition.

The tuition itself has yet to be decided, and will actually be defined by the universities themselves.  However, it is believed that the average yearly tuition will land somewhere between 60,000 and 80,000 SEK (Check out SVD for an article about this in Swedish, TheLocal for an article in English).

This decision does not come without controversy as many people believe that charging tuition will hurt the Swedish educational system internationally and students who had hoped to gain a Swedish education will be priced out of it. Others believe charging tuition is important if Sweden hopes to compete educationally on an international level.

Again, the ruling only counts against non-EU students.  Permanent residents who are living in Sweden but do not yet have citizenship are exempt from tuition.  Exchange students spending a semester or a full year here are exempt from tuition.  American students with no EU citizenship earning their master’s here are NOT exempt from tuition.  I think you get the idea.

Two different scholarship funds have been set up to help offset the costs. One is reserved for students from countries with which Sweden has an outstanding relationship and that are judged to be developing countries. The second scholarship fund is open to anyone eligible to study in Sweden needing to pay tuition.

If you’re looking to study in Sweden, be sure to keep in mind this change in policy and plan accordingly.  Or be sure to get over here before the tuition law is put into place.  If you’re studying here before the fall of 2011, you will be grandfathered in.

For more information be sure to read about the new law at Sweden.gov as well as the wonderful online educational resource Study In Sweden that has been incredibly helpful with their FAQ about the new tuition.  They can also be reached on Twitter @StudyInSweden where you can get some quick answers.

Keep learning Swedish with us!

Build vocabulary, practice pronunciation, and more with Transparent Language Online. Available anytime, anywhere, on any device.

Try it Free Find it at your Library
Share this:
Pin it

About the Author: Marcus Cederström

Marcus Cederström has been writing for the Transparent Swedish Blog since 2009. He has a Bachelor's Degree in Scandinavian Studies from the University of Oregon, a Master's Degree in Scandinavian Studies from the University of Wisconsin–Madison, and a PhD in Scandinavian Studies and Folklore from the University of Wisconsin–Madison. He has taught Swedish for several years and still spells things wrong. So, if you see something, say something.


  1. David:

    “Or be sure to get over here before the tuition law is put into place. If you’re studying here before the fall of 2011, you will be grandfathered in.”

    Valid point, although this could be difficult since the application deadline for the fall semester has already passed. One could apply for a program that starts in the spring of 2011 and stretches over several semesters, but there’s not too many of these.

    Thanks for your interesting article and the link to our site!

  2. Marcus Cederström:

    Absolutely right about the application deadlines, but just wanted to let people know that there are still opportunities to be grandfathered in.

    Thanks for all of the great information on your site. Very helpful for people planning to study here in Sweden.

  3. Toprak:

    Hi, I’m planning to do sambo with my Swedish boyfriend, but I also want to keep studying here ( I’m an Erasmus student now). With the temporary residence permit, is it possible not to pay the tuition fee? Nobody at school knows about it and I have to be quick. Thanks!

  4. Marcus Cederström:

    Best bet is to check with Study in Sweden: http://www.studyinsweden.se/