With its emphasis on independent studies, Sweden is ranked among the world leaders in higher education. The teaching model applied at Swedish universities and university colleges is based on the motto ‘freedom with responsibility’. This means that students have somewhat less teacher-led time than is usual elsewhere, mainly pursuing their studies on their own or in groups.
The level of education among Swedes has risen sharply over the last few years. The autumn term of 2012 saw a record of 126,000 first-time applicants to higher education in Sweden. A total of 403,000 people applied and 257,000 were admitted.
Higher education in Sweden is financed largely by tax revenue. Earlier, this applied to all students regardless of nationality. However, in the autumn of 2011 tuition fees were introduced for students from outside the EU/EEA area, with the exception of Switzerland. The Government believes that Swedish higher education should compete in terms of quality and good conditions, not just by providing free education.
To enable students who cannot pay tuition fees to study in Sweden, the Government has allocated resources for two scholarship programmes.
The first programme awards grants through the Swedish Institute and totals SEK 100 million a year. This programme is aimed at highly qualified students from development countries and is designed to cover living costs and tuition fees.
The second programme, worth SEK 60 million, is aimed at highly qualified students from outside the EU/EEA area, barring Switzerland. Grants in this programme are intended to cover tuition fees and are awarded through the Swedish Council for Higher Education to universities and university colleges that already extend grants to students.