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New audit in Sweden highlights difficulties of introducing fees for international students
A proposed fee for international students has the Swedish government and universities at loggerheads.
While the Swedish government says that it hopes to maintain foreign student numbers following the introduction of fees, the universities see a host of problems, writes University World News.
This includes a paradoxical boom in potential foreign students applying next year so as to start their studies before fees are introduced in 2011.
At present, eight pct. of students in Sweden, some 30,000, are international students, up from 3.1 pct. in 1998.
Although Swedish student numbers in higher education have decreased in recent years, total enrolments have been held constant by the arrival of the internationals.
A recent national audit report criticised the lack of integration of foreign students in Swedish institutions, noting that several English-taught master degrees were comprised only of non-Swedish students.
In line with the government proposal, the report recommended fees for international students but with grants for those from developing countries as a compensation measure.
According to University World News, the volume of international applications to Sweden is increasing sharply. 130,000 have applied this year, 75,000 for masters courses taught in English.