Swedish universities - are these fees to good to be true?

I’ve looked at prospectuses from two Swedish universities (Lund and Malmo), and both have taught-in-English master’s programs that look extremely interesting. Equally interesting is that they both say that higher education tuition is wholly subsidized by the Swedish government, even for foreign students.

Is this true even on a post-baccalaureate level? For all foreign students? I noticed a link on one of the pages leading to information about scholarships available, which led to a Swedish page*, but if there are scholarships available, then there must be some fees to pay, right? I’m just fairly stunned by the idea of free education at that level for non-home/EU students, and so I want to figure out what the catch is before I get my hopes up about it.

*In case anyone’s curious, no, I don’t speak Swedish, which obviously I would go about changing if I got serious about those universities. My ideal choice of grad programs would be anywhere in London, but London is insanely expensive. Europe is somewhere I would like to spend much more time; I inherited a so-far insatiable case of wanderlust from my hippie parents.

I speak Swedish - if you’ll post the link to the Swedish page I can get you the details, but in general, yes it’s true. There have been efforts by some of the centrist and conservative parties to impose tuition fees for foreign students but so far they’ve been resisted by the universities themselves.

Free universities aren’t that unusual on this side of the Atlantic. I don’t know about Sweden specifically, but there is one possible catch to keep in mind. At least in Germany student visa heavily restrict your ability to work and for the most part you either have to bring your own money or you need a scholarship.

Even if the school’s free, living in Sweden won’t be.

Of course - but rent and student union fees are a sight better than rent, SU fees, and tuition.

I think what cckerberos meant was that the scholarships were designed to cover living expenses, so the existence of scholarships did not necessarily imply the existence of tuition fees.

As said by others, several European countries adhere, or used to adhere, to the doctrine that university education should be free. Some of them introduced tuition recently, but the fees appear ridiculously cheap to people accustomed to American standards - 1,000 euros per year in some states of Germany, for example, but postgraduate degrees can be more expensive, especially if they are taught in English.
Totally free education for non-EU foreigners is a bit unusual, though, but certainly not unheard of.

There’s more than one city in Britain, BTW :wink:

Just hopping in as a Swede to assure you that yes, it’s free. You pay a fee to the students’ union and that’s it. After that, your only expense is for literature.

Just to note Cecil’s column of a few years back: http://www.straightdope.com/columns/read/2367/are-u-s-taxes-low-compared-to-the-rest-of-the-industrialized-world

The numbers have probably changed slightly over the last few years, and I don’t want to actually look them up, but Cecil shows Swedish top income tax rate at 60% on income over roughly US$42,000 compared to the U.S. top income tax rate of 40$ on income over almost US$300,000.

Yes, Sweden has lots of social programmes. Yes, they’re paid for by taxes. No, the U.S. doesn’t because the U.S. population doesn’t want to pay taxes.

I know; I’ve been to several and found most of them perfectly nice. London, however, has a powerful draw for me and quite a number of programs I’m interested in. I lived there for six months and for reasons I can’t explain, fell absolutely, ‘this place is the first place I’ve lived that feels like home’, madly in love with it. And don’t worry, I am looking at some schools outside of London (including Aberystwyth, which is a name I’m convinced no human can pronounce).

Olentzero, thank you for offering your translation help but I found an English page. It looks like many of them are for Eastern European students or other developing countries, but there are a few which Americans are eligible for. And they do look like they’re meant to cover living expenses, as opposed to university fees.

Free education even at the post-grad level. That’s absolutely wild.

Well, yes. And no.

Being Swedish, I hope I can explain this:

Most of the social programs are done by the local village/town/city. Almost all are taxes are the local income tax, the level determined by the town council where you live. Typically, this is a flat rate around 30 %. The only federal (for lack of better word) income tax we pay is on money above a certain level. This starts at about $70k. The town still gets its 30 percent and the national tax is put on top of that, maxing out at about 55 %.
This will of course seem extremely high to an American, but people earning wages close to $100k and above usually have a friendly banker and a cpa who can lower the tax burden. Benefit packages play a large role too. Driving a brand new Volvo V70 for $300 a month seems like a bargain to me.

Actually, the government doesn’t make a whole lot of money from income tax. The higher tax for higher earners is mostly a smoke screen. Sweden was social democrat for so many years, the meme is that “Yes, we pay high taxes, *but *we get a lot in return, *and *the rich guys pay even higher taxes”. The reality - since the 70’s - is that we pay high taxes, don’t get a lot in return and the rich guys never paid higher taxes.
Interestingly enough, even under leftist rule, corporate income tax was always a flat rate of 30 %, as was income from stocks, bonds and such.

The goverment raises money through sales tax, tax on booze, smokes and gas. Universities are goverment funded, not locally, so almost to personal income tax is paying for free education.

Yes its free.
Theres a fee of (about) 50$ per 6 months that goes to the students union.

Living in Sweden tho is not cheap.

Figure at least 500 for rent (one room and kitchen) and up. At least 400 a month for food.

Entertainment is not cheap either. cheap restaurant at least 15$
good restaurant double that.
movies about 15$

The good universities in sweden are:
Lund, Göteborg, Stockholm, Uppsala.

I live near Göteborg and would recommend it.
Its the biggest university in Sweden. (or most student at least)

great link:
http://www.studyinsweden.se/templates/cs/CommonPage____4962.aspx

Two things came to mind here: (1) that’s a bit of a contrast from London! and (2) you realise it’s one of the easiest Welsh place names for an English speaker to tackle?!

At least 50% of the Swedes would disagree and this post belongs in GD; Charlie Tan is not offering any factual answers but is airing opinions.

BTW, can I ask what subject(s) you’re looking at?

Nope, fact.
But if you want this to turn into GD, feel free to open a thread. I’ll bring cites. I just don’t want to hijack this thread even further.

The irony, of course, is that the very low-cost university system across Europe has generally meant that, well, the government decides who gets to go. C’est la vie.

Generally speaking, human rights or peace/conflict studies. International politics/relations is also an option - there tends to be a considerable amount of overlap between them.

And the high cost university system of the USA means that only a small percentage of the ultra rich can afford to go to college.

I don’t get it.