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Proposed fee-system in Sweden for students from countries outside the EEA

A committee of inquiry appointed by the Swedish government has researched setting up a fee system for students from outside the EEA studying at Swedish universities. In its conclusions, the committee proposes a new section in the Higher Education Act ensuring free tuition for Swedish students, as well as for students from other countries of the European Economic Area (EEA), but which allows the government to decide on fees for students from non-EEA countries. The committee concludes that the fees should cover all incurred costs, but not more. In addition, some non-EEA citizens would be exempt from fees, such as those with residence permits or those taking part in an exchange or cooperation programme. Students from Switzerland would also be exempt from the fees.

The committee concluded that some financial support should be made available to those who were obliged to pay fees via a grant system for which the Swedish Institute would be responsible for. There was also a call that with the introduction of fees, there should be further development of educational programmes, more funding for grants and more support and services for foreign students.

Last year also Finland had carried out a committee enquiry into tuition fees. The committee recommended there a fee of  3 500 EUR to 12 000 EUR per year for non-EEA students, stating  from the 2007/2008 academic year. A specific scholarship scheme, to be administered by the Centre for International Mobility (CIMO), was set up to help the talented and needy students from non-EEA countries.  

Denmark has already decided to start charging a fee of non-EEA students starting from autumn 2006. A limited number of fee wavers and state scholarships for high achievers have been set up in addition to various institutional scholarships. Norway, on the other hand, has kept itself out of introducing fees, and announces that for the moment students from all countries can study free in Norwegian public tertiary institutions.